Channel 4’s recent series ‘Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds’ turned social isolation into moments of joy as older people and toddlers mingled.
Volunteers from Westbury-on-Trym were helped to find a better quality of life and improve their mental and physical health. The message was, prevention is better than cure.
But with money short and Brexit distracting our weak Conservative government, is their positive experience nothing but a TV dream?
Government decision-makers are rushing to stop essential frontline services collapsing. Staff at crisis-hit Southmead Hospital say they are ‘on their knees’ (Evening Post, 9 Jan). And Bristol City Council’s Labour leadership still presses ahead with budget cuts, now taking away money for housing adaptations like stairlifts and downstairs toilets that could reduce hospital and care-home admissions. Prevention is not happening. The cost comes back on the council.
Nationally, only the Lib Dems have the longterm plans that will open-up preventative projects like the Channel 4 series to more than just a few people. The party is proposing a national 1% income tax increase, dedicated to health and care. Vince Cable is also considering funding future NHS and social care spending from one combined tax, which would be set by independent adjudicators.
Lib Dem Councillor Clare Campion-Smith says, “We need a vision for health and care which can survive changes of government, and to be honest about where taxes are going. It’s simple: people will be happy to contribute more if they trust the system.”
Prevention is better than cure.