ELECTION 2010: charity says social care reform should be ‘priority’


A disability charity has called in its own election “manifesto” for the next government to make social care reform a “priority”.

The MS Society became the latest disability organisation to publish a manifesto of policies it would like to see adopted by political parties in the run-up to the general election.

In its manifesto, the charity lays out 10 policies covering independence, support and healthcare.

It says reform of the social care system should ensure people have “equal access to high quality, responsive, personalised care and support when they need it, wherever they live”.

It also calls for improvements to wheelchair and community equipment services and assistive technology.

And it adds its voice to calls from other disability organisations for improvements to the new work capability assessment, introduced by the government to test those applying for employment and support allowance, the new out-of-work disability benefit.

It says that “many people with MS are disadvantaged by the current assessment process and left without the support they need” because of the fluctuating nature of their condition.

Among other polices outlined in the manifesto, the charity calls on the current government to fulfil its pledge to provide free prescriptions for those living with long-term conditions in England – prescriptions are already free for everyone in Wales and charges for those in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be phased out by 2011.

It also calls for government strategies to ensure access to high quality, person-centred palliative and end-of-life care for all people with MS who need it.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the MS Society, welcomed the “remarkable improvements in the drugs, treatments and support available to people affected by MS” over the last ten years.

But he said there were still “huge inequalities in access to drugs, treatments and support to live independently across the country”.

The charity wants its supporters to sign a petition backing its manifesto on the Number 10 website and to lobby local prospective parliamentary candidates.

17 February 2010

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