The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has used his New Year Message to call out the ‘broken’ social care system.
Speaking at Methodist Homes’ (MHA) Bradbury Grange Care Home in Whitstable, Kent, Welby said: “We know our care system is broken, but it doesn’t have to be. We can rise to the challenge of fixing it. That means action from all of us; you, me, families, communities and government.
“Care homes are struggling too. Bills have risen; hiring and keeping staff is a challenge. Why work as a carer when you might get paid more in less demanding jobs? Caring’s not easy. Good carers are wonderful people to be valued.
“Caring goes to the heart of what it means to be human. It’s hard, but it can also be the most life-giving thing we ever do. It comes back to that essential lesson: we need each other.”
The message comes ahead of publication of a report - Care and Support Reimagined - that has been commissioned by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. The authors promise ‘a new vision for social care in which everyone can flourish, regardless of age or ability’.
The chair of the Archbishops’ Commission, Dr Anna Dixon MBE, said: “I am delighted that Archbishop Justin has used his New Year Message to emphasise the need for action on social care. Our report will seek to address some of the long-standing challenges affecting social care and set out a hopeful vision of what care and support could and should be like.
“We cannot simply tinker around the edges of the existing social care system. We need a new settlement that gives choice and control to people who draw on care and support, equips and empowers communities, and offers far greater support and recognition to unpaid carers.”
MHA chief executive Sam Monaghan commented: “We were so happy to welcome Archbishop Justin to MHA Bradbury Grange and to share a typical day with him. Our residents loved having the opportunity to meet and talk with him.
“Staff shared with him how they support everyone living at the home and what it involves to provide good quality care. The visit meant so much to us.”