- 2019 National Women's Conference
- 16 October 2018
- Carried as Amended
The current cuts to our NHS and social care provision are causing great health poverty to women and families. Social care is the very bedrock of our society, women bear the brunt of the care crisis. The majority of the care workforce, paid and unpaid, are women, and the majority of those in need of care are women. These cuts impact negatively on women in innumerable different ways, with a disproportionate impact on members of disadvantaged groups including Black, disabled and LGBT women.
The budgetary constraints and issues highlighted in social media are decimating frontline services. Also, potential risks of early intervention strategies are being minimised leaving only emergency provision which is so poorly funded; therby leaving many families unsupported until crisis intervention is the only action that can be taken.
“Health services, particularly the NHS, have borne significant and damaging budget cuts as a result of Tory austerity. From 2015-2016, the public health budget was cut by £200m, a gap set to grow to £331m by 2021.” (Care Council 2017).
Research by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) reports that, “English councils plan to push through social care cuts of £700m in 2018-19, equivalent to nearly 5% of the total £14.5bn budget. Since 2010, social care spending in England has shrunk by £7bn.” (The Guardian newspaper, June 2018).
In these austere times it is not only the patients of the NHS that are suffering cuts to Social Care provision; it has also affected both staff and other service users:
• The loss of staff has affected the consistency of social care support, and has also directly impacted the knowledge base in relation to women’s and LGBT women’s issues;
• The loss of services for many high need complex service users
• Continual promises from the government that funding will increase, which never materialise;
• The loss of mental health support, which often has a direct physical health consequences;
• The loss of access to GPs, and to gender identity clinics, which disproportionately affects trans women;
• Increased stress for both staff and service users as providers focus on surviving instead of providing a quality service.
According to Glen Garrod, President of Adass, “action to address immediate pressures faced by councils and care providers is becoming increasingly urgent.” (The Guardian newspaper, June 2018)
The budget announcement in 2018 promised 3.6%, but failed to account for increasing costs that will need to be met by the Department for Health and Social Care’s existing budget. This will mean a real terms increase of just 2.7%, and this applies only to the NHS. There is still no commitment to ensuring Social Care provision is protected and that proper funding will be forthcoming.
Our members and services need to be protected from further Tory attacks.
Conference therefore calls upon the National Women’s Committee to work with the:
1. NEC and Labour Link Committee to challenge the funding cuts building on existing campaigns;
2. NEC to campaign nationally for a Social Care policy commensurate with a caring society and a National Care Service that provides care free at the point of delivery.
3. The other national self-organised groups to identify areas of common concern and potential areas of joint campaigning on these issues.”