DAME BARBARA'S PLEA FOR SOCIAL CARE HELP
DAME Barbara Windsor is today demanding wholesale reform of Britain’s broken social care system.
The EastEnders and Carry On star, 82, who is battling Alzheimer’s disease, will present a letter signed by more than 100,000 people urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to act immediately.
Dame Barbara and her husband, Scott Mitchell, will take their fight to 10 Downing Street, saying the crisis cannot continue.
Mr Mitchell, 56, said: “My wife and I are so proud to be delivering this letter from Alzheimer’s Society and the tens of thousands of people who have signed it.
“This overwhelming response from the people across the country really shows the public outrage at the distress caused by our broken social care system.
“I have learnt so much about the struggles that so many people with dementia and their families face every day, just to get access to the care they need. It simply cannot go on any longer.”
Thanking people for their support, Dame Barbara said: “It means so much to me. Let’s make this happen, and fix dementia care.”
Dame Barbara, who played indomitable landlady Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, was diagnosed with dementia in 2014. Mr Mitchell now nurses her at their London home.
The letter calls for immediate action to repair a system in meltdown because successive governments have refused to see it as a priority. It says: “The collective political failure to agree and deliver care reform over decades has left us with a system in crisis.
“It is families that pick up the strain – daughters, sons, partners and friends are stepping in and spending 1.3 billion hours a year providing care – many are at breaking point.”
The Department of Health and Social Care has delayed plans to publish a blueprint to tackle the problem six times. It refuses to say when the Social Care Green Paper will see the light of day.
Forecasts show one million people in the UK will be struck down by dementia by 2021 and the Alzheimer’s Society says inadequate community care, costs the health service £570million a year, as people are stuck in hospital.
The charity wants the Government to help families crippled with spiralling care costs for dementia patients and redress the balance with other illnesses like cancer, for which treatment is free. It wants a £2.4billion NHS Dementia Fund in Wednesday’s Spending Review to help people who typically spend £100,000 on care.
Appealing directly to Mr Johnson, Mr Mitchell said: “This is a huge opportunity to answer the pleas of the 850,000 people living with dementia across the UK and the millions who are their families, friends and carers.
“Please don’t let people with dementia down.”
Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: “Barbara and Scott will stop at nothing to help us achieve our goals.
“We are hugely grateful that on top of navigating their own deeply personal experience, they are also helping give hundreds of thousands of people with dementia and their families a voice. The system is completely unprepared to support the growing numbers of people receiving a dementia diagnosis.”
Taking fight to No 10... Dame Barbara and husband Scott