Petition by Manchester family for better adult social care reaches 1,500 signatures

  • Lack of PPE and staffing issues continue to plague the sector
  • Petition created to highlight issues has reached more than 1,500 signatures
  • Care minister Helen Whately wants to enable visiting to care homes but 'it must be safe'

Covid-19 has created an ‘onslaught’ of enquiries from families needing social care for relatives living with dementia, says a Manchester charity.

Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading dementia charity, has been forced to temporarily postpone face-to-face services due to the pandemic and says families are struggling to cope as a result.

The situation is so bad that one Manchester woman, who says she was asked to pay more than £100,000 in care fees, set up a a petition calling on the government to take action.

An advisor at the Manchester branch of Alzheimer’s Society told NQ: “We have been unable to continue with face to face meetings, which is extremely hard on those that rely on them.

“Because of this, we have set up Companion Calls.”

Alzheimer’s Society staff have made more than 120,000 welfare calls to people affected by dementia to offer information and support, and to reassure them they are not alone. 

A news release published by Alzheimer’s Society last month notes Liz Brookes, 64 of Rochdale, cares for her husband Mike, 77, who has vascular dementia and she says the isolation of lockdown is having a negative impact on both of them. 

She said: “I’m on the verge of not coping and I’m now on anti-depressants.

“I have contacts at Alzheimer’s Society, but I’m missing face-to-face conversations. Zoom is all well and good but you can’t have a proper conversation.”

Adult social care, crisis, petition
Liz and Mike                                                                                 Picture: Alzheimer’s Society

The National Care Forum says allowing families to visit relatives in care homes is vital for the mental health of their loved ones.

Care minister Helen Whately has said that a pilot scheme will begin soon enabling relatives of care home residents to be “treated as key workers” in order to visit safely.

The change comes after concerns by many pressure groups including Compassion in Care, which also says that care workers are reporting a lack of staff or personal protective equipment in their workplace.

Manchester health authority says the care situation is putting “extreme pressures on the public health teams”.

Jane Townson, chief executive of UK Homecare Association, said that due to lack of supplies, providers are “unable to access the quantities that we are told they should be able to order”.


Flyer publicising petition asking for better care in Manchester                    Photo: Iris Nickson

Manchester Iris Nickson set up her petition after her father became ill. It has been signed by more than 1,500 so far.

She said: “In chatting to people I have heard a great deal of similar experiences. Some private messages I have received explain the despair people have encountered over many years.”

Another resident in the Manchester area stated: “Despite severe debilitating dementia causing my father to be bed-bound, we’re avoiding a care home at all costs due to the state of care at the moment.”

Social care is ‘cash-strapped’ with government spending falling by £300 million over the last decade. One in four requests for help from vulnerable families is now rejected by local authorities.

Boris Johnson promised a “clear plan” to help the sector last year yet there is a “constant struggle” to access services.