Wales politics

Social care crisis not seen since workhouse days, Labour AM warns

Eluned Morgan
Image caption Eluned Morgan hopes for a national care service which would in time "become as loved and appreciated as the NHS"

A social care "time-bomb" requires the setting up of a national care service, a Labour AM has warned.

Eluned Morgan said without action "we risk facing a social crisis" not seen "since the days of the workhouse".

Care Forum Wales warned in August of a "triple whammy" of underfunding, staff pay and an ageing population.

The Welsh Government said it had worked for many years on "building a care service fit for the pressures of the modern world".

According to Public Health Wales, the number of people aged 85 or over will reach 184,000 by 2036 - up 145% since 2011.

'Amber lights flashing'

Baroness Morgan, leading a short debate in the Senedd on Wednesday evening on future challenges for the care sector in Wales, said: "Care services are struggling to keep up, and the state is struggling to pay for it.

"Report after report has noted that something needs to be done - the amber lights have been flashing for a long time but they are about to turn red."

The AM for Mid and West Wales called for a cross-party consensus on developing a new funding model, relevant building policies and support for staff working in the social care sector.

She told the assembly she hoped for a national care service which would in time "become as loved and appreciated as the NHS".

Responding, Social Services Minister Rebecca Evans said: "This government has been strongly focused for a number of years now on building a care service fit for the pressures of the modern world.

"We have brought forward ground-breaking legislation to reform care based on a person-centred approach, we've protected social services budgets despite the austerity of the UK government, and we've led the sector towards new approaches of collaboration and integration."

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