DAME BAR­BARA'S PLEA FOR SO­CIAL CARE HELP

Daily Express - - FRONT PAGE - By Giles Sheldrick Chief Re­porter

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.

Out­rage

“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.

Voice

“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

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