Launching Cedars Castle Hill’s latest Report and Accounts, Chair of trustees Sara Jacson said
“I am delighted that we have come through an important transitional year in such good shape. April King, who joined us as Director of Homes in July last year, has driven important changes when we have also had to cope with a continuing muddle in government policy on care. I thank our dedicated care staff for their commitment, patience and excellent service to our residents despite the challenging environment.”
Mrs Jacson stressed that the state funding system for social care is still nowhere near fit for purpose now, let alone for the coming explosion of need in an aging population. Regular ministerial statements imply that the issues have been sorted out for the future but that is misleading. An increasingly unacceptable burden falls on local authorities, she said, yet their government funding has been slashed at a time when the demand for adult social care rises inexorably. This is despite fine words – from the Prime Minister downwards – on the need for a considered, deliverable set of responses to the challenge posed by the dementia crisis.
Shaftesbury’s not-for-profit provider of both a residential home and a nursing home looks after some 60 residents in its two town centre houses. Around a third are funded by Dorset County Council, and there has been the added challenge of awaiting significant changes in the council’s social care structure. As the Cedars Castle Hill accounts for 2014/5 show, after several years of small surpluses the charity needed to dip into its financial reserves to maintain a safe service in the face of problems with the government funding regime. Many private sector providers of residential care now say they may not be able to continue. They blame this on both conflicting government policies such as the new living wage, and indecision as well as confusion over important policy changes, notably the promised cap on costs to be met by individuals going into residential care.
“Dementia is a huge challenge which touches so many lives” concluded Mrs Jacson. “I am pleased that public awareness is growing fast, but we are disappointed that the government response continues to be built on soundbites not substance. Cedars Castle Hill is a small part of a huge voluntary sector effort in this field, but the public sector has to get its act together – urgently”