Charities urge the Prime Minister to tackle the care crisis

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Arthritis Care has joined 75 organisations and leaders in health and social care to urge the Prime Minister to find a solution to the care crisis in England.

The joint letter, published today, calls on Theresa May to work with other political parties to agree a long-term solution which will put our health and social care system on a sustainable footing.

Judi Rhys, Chief Executive of Arthritis Care, said:

“Thousands of people with arthritis are going without decent care. Billions of pounds have been cut from social care in recent years[1] and the pressure on our health service is intensifying, with nearly one in ten beds taken by someone medically well enough to be discharged.[2]

“The government has taken some short-term steps and recognised that a long-term solution is needed, but has not yet said how this can be achieved. We are calling on Theresa May to seek the political agreement needed to tackle this crisis now and in the future. Without it, we will continue to let down more than a million older and disabled people who are going without the care they need.[3]”

You can support the call for action by signing this petition, organised by charity Independent Age.

Full text of the open letter

Dear Prime Minister,

There can be no doubt about the scale of the challenges facing health and social care services in England. Barely a day goes by without news of immediate problems – service reductions, missed targets – and warnings of future failings. 2017 simply cannot be another year where these huge issues are ducked.

While the Government has taken some short term steps to try and relieve the pressures on the NHS and local authorities, without more fundamental action, these challenges will accelerate as our population increases and ages.

Although you have recognised the need to find a longer term solution, you have not yet said how you will go about developing one. Unless you adopt a bolder approach millions of older, ill and disabled people and their carers, will continue to be badly let down.

That’s why we are now calling for the government to establish a cross-party process to review and recommend action on future health and social care funding.

We believe that process should be:

  • Inclusive: established by the government with meaningful cross party engagement
  • Open:  listening to the public and professionals who use and work in these services every day
  • Urgent: the cross party process should get underway without delay but this should not prevent shorter term investment, particularly to support the care system

Such a process should not aim to ‘take the politics out of health and care’ but rather to make clear the costs and consequences of the political decisions that must be made. It should recognise that just as no one party should be blamed for the current challenges, nor can a genuinely long term solution be owned only by one party.

Brave thinking is required to ensure the right recommendations are backed with political will.  There can be no room for complacency. The time to act is now.

Signatories to the open letter to the Prime Minister

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive, Independent Age

Judi Rhys, Chief Executive, Arthritis Care

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair, Royal College of GPs

Cathie Williams, Chief Officer, ADASS

Jo Miller, President, SOLACE

Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive, Carers UK

Dr Jane Collins, CEO, Marie Curie

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive, Patients Association

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive, Care England

Colin Angel, Policy and Campaigns Director, UK Home Care Association

Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chairman, National Care Association

Frank Ursell, Chief Executive, Registered Nursing Home Association

Vic Rayner, Executive Director, National Care Forum

Neil Heslop, Chief Executive, Leonard Cheshire Disability

Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON

Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive, Royal Mencap Society

Sally Harvey, Interim Chief Executive, RNIB

Paul Breckell, Chief Executive, Action on Hearing Loss

Steve Vaid, Acting Chief Executive, Guide Dogs

Richard Kramer, Deputy CEO, Sense

Rt Hon Prof Paul Burstow, Former Minister of State for Care

Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive, CIPFA

David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK

Eileen Burns, President, British Geriatrics Society

Irene Sobowale, CEO, The Disabilities Trust

Lisa Lenton, Director, ARC England

Sue Adams OBE, Chief Executive, Care and Repair England

Robert Stephenson-Padron, Managing Director, Penrose Care Agency

Ian Cumming MBE, Director of Fundraising and Communications, Guideposts

Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation

Lisa Hopkins, Chief Executive, SeeAbility

Tim Cooper, CEO, United Response

Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive, Anchor

Azra Kirkby, Interim CEO, Real Life Options

Alex Fox OBE, CEO, Shared Lives Plus

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, NAT

Sue Browning, CEO, Spinal Injuries Association

Michael Voges, Executive Director, ARCO

Gary FitzGerald, CEO, Action on Elder Abuse

Simon Chapman, Director of Policy and External Affairs, National Council for Palliative Care

Jonathan Senker, Chief Executive, VoiceAbility

Dr Rhidian Hughes, CEO, VODG

Susan Hale, General Manager, Colostomy Association

Carol Boys, Chief Executive,  Down's Syndrome Association

David McCullough, Chief Executive, Royal Voluntary Service

Mark Lever, Chief Executive, National Autistic Society

Sue Bott, Deputy Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK

Tracey Bleakley, CEO, Hospice UK

Dr Mohsin Khan, Co-founder and Chief Policy Officer, NHS Survival

Dr Sam Barrell, Chief Executive, Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust

Phil Pegler, Chief Executive, Community Integrated Care

Justin Irwin, Chief Executive, Family and Childcare Trust

Kirsty Woodard, Ageing without Children

Derek Cribb, Chief Executive, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive, Carers Trust

Oonagh Aitken, CEO, Volunteering Matters

Mr Adam Williams, President, Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT)

Mr Simon Fleming, President, British Orthopaedic Trainees Association

Dr Matt Mayer, Chair, GP Survival

Olivia Belle, Director of External Affairs, Arthritis Research UK

Professor Julienne Meyer, City University

Dr Zoe Norris, Chair of Sessional Subcommittee, General Practitioners Committee UK

Dr Phil Hammond, NHS Associate Specialist & Vice Chair of The Patients Association

Dr Umesh Prabhu, Consultant Paediatrician and Medical Director

Mr Dermot O’Riordan, Consultant Surgeon

Mr Johann Malawana, Director, The Healthcare Leadership Academy

Stella Vig, Consultant Vascular Surgeon and Royal College of Surgeons Council Member

Prof. Nigel Standfield, Professor of Vascular Surgery and Surgical Education and Royal College of Surgeons Council Member

Mr Shafi Ahmed, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Royal College of Surgeons Council Member

Mr Richard Kerr, Former President of Society of British Neurological Surgeons and Royal College of Surgeons Council Member

Dr Peter JP Holden, British Medical Association Council Member and Treasurer of Derbyshire LMC

Dr Rob Galloway, Emergency Medicine Consultant

Mr Ben Dean, Orthopaedic Registrar and Honorary Research Fellow

Roshana Mehdian, Orthopaedic Registrar and Assistant Course Director, The Healthcare Leadership Academy


[1] Taking into account growing demand and rising prices, social care services in England have faced cuts of £4.6 billion in five years, including cash cuts of £1.6 billion: Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (2016) ADASS Budget Survey 2016 Full Report 

[2] Age UK (2016) Briefing: The Health and Care of Older People in England 2015

[3] Lord Carter of Coles (2016) Operational productivity and performance in English NHS acute hospitals: Unwarranted variations

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