Mum of severely disabled Sheffield boy says social care system has reached ‘crisis point’

“It can’t continue like this. We have reached crisis point.”

By Dan Hayes
Sunday, 14 July, 2019, 18:09

Full-time carer and mum-of-two Charlotte Sellers, of Fox Hill, says the UK’s social care system is on the verge of breaking down.

Her five-year-old son Oscar was born with a severe developmental disability, which means he needs 24-hour a day care and will never be able to live independently.

Charlotte Sellers.

Her family’s experience of the system and hearing about the plight of dozens of other carers in similar positions has convinced Charlotte that something needs to change.

She has written to Prime Minister Theresa May and Caroline Dinenage MP, a Minister of State in the Department of Health and Social Care, calling for the social care system to be completely reformed.

And she has started a petition which she hopes will put more pressure on the Government to act.

“The country right now is in a complete social care crisis,” she said.

“Families are not getting the support they need until they get to crisis and then they get only the bare minimum.

“It is a 24-hour a day job from which you don’t get any respite. And your family either doesn’t feel able to help or can’t.

“People also don’t get enough sleep so it affects your mental health as well.”

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Charlotte says that since starting her campaign she has been contacted by dozens of other people who are in desperate need of more help.

She said the country’s army of carers actually saves the Government billions of pounds a year by keeping care receivers at home, making the ‘carers allowance’ of £250 a month look even more derisory than it already is.

“They are not getting the financial or physical support they need to care for the people they look after and themselves at the same time,” she said.

“There are 13.9 million people with a disability in the UK and 28 per cent of them are in poverty because they haven’t got the support in place to access the financial support they could be receiving.

“A lot of the support you receive is you hear about from other parents because the professionals are not forthcoming about what help is available because they haven’t got the money to be able to do it.”

And she is also angry about the competency of care company staff, with many getting only one day training before looking after people with a wide range of different needs.

“That is pretty horrendous when you think about the kinds of duties they have,” she said.

“We want the government to say there should be professional carers and the support they give should be top quality.”

Charlotte’s son Oscar was born with a severe developmental condition called Angelman syndrome which causes learning difficulties, challenging behaviour and renders some sufferers completely non-verbal.

A lot of people living with the condition can never be toilet trained and will need care for the rest of their lives.

To find out more or sign Charlotte’s petition, visit www.change.org/p/minister-of-health-and-social-care-reform-in-social-care.