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Shropshire Star comment: Our proud institutions are crumbling

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Once great institutions are starting to crumble.

Our NHS is under severe pressure and, in some areas, appears no longer fit for purpose.

Our social care sector is in an even worse state, in many areas it is ruinous.

As our politicians continue the seemingly endless debate on how our relationship with the EU should develop in the future, we are taking our eye off the ball. Items on our domestic agenda are being overlooked as all of the Government’s resources are ploughed into Brexit.

The issue of social care has been labelled disastrous by unions, who say there are a staggering 75,000 vacant roles. And with many formerly filled by workers from different parts of Europe, the situation is likely to become ever more acute.

The social care system will face greater demands in years to come as our population continues to age and as life expectancy increases.

The alarming fact is we are unable to cope with the existing demand, let alone a time when there will be considerably greater stresses.

Inadequate

Like the gradually deteriorating state of the environment, Britain’s ageing population is one of the major issues we have yet to get to grips with. It will dominate the agenda in years to come and the country is ill-equipped to cope.

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Demand already outstrips supply, funding is grossly inadequate and many face a sad end to their life with insufficient care or support.

We ought not to imagine the problems have suddenly arisen. They have not. The situation we find ourselves in is a result of years of neglect.

Successive Governments have simply not invested in social care as they should have, staff are ill-equipped and many nursing homes are in crisis. And yet while the Brexit paralysis that has gripped the nation continues, such issues will remain off the agenda.

There is no doubt that Brexit is one of the greatest challenges this country has faced in recent times. Yet politicians must not ignore the pressing issues closer to home. It is high time the Government began to look in detail at longer term solutions to social care.

New thinking and new investment are a prerequisite as we plan for a difficult and challenging future.

In other cultures, the elderly are respected and revered. We must take a leaf from such books and do more to help.

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