Tories attempt to stifle debate on care

Last week the Barnet Tories attempted to stifle debate on care by effectively asking Labour councillor Reema Patel to choose between helping dementia sufferers and introducing Unison's Ethical Care Charter.
Cllr Patel had submitted a member's item asking the committee to sign-up to both the Alzheimer's Society's 'Dementia Manifesto for London' and Unison's Ethical Care Charter in order to help older people in the Borough, but the Tory Chair of the Adults and Safeguarding, Cllr Sachin Rajput, obtained legal advice allowing him to remove the item less than 48 hours before his committee met last week on the basis that they constituted two separate items.

Just before the meeting, Cllr Rajput told Cllr Patel she could raise just one of the issues, and asked her to choose which one, but Labour councillors instead raised both the Dementia Manifesto and Ethical Care Charter under another agenda item.

The Conservatives allowed the Dementia Manifesto to be referred to the Health and Wellbeing Board, but voted against signing the Ethical Care Charter.

Cllr Reema Patel said: "I was absolutely stunned when Cllr Rajput asked me to choose between dementia sufferers and ethical care - surely both should be a priority for him? 

"I'm glad that his attempt to completely force the issues off the agenda failed, although it's disappointing that the Tories voted against signing the ethical care charter. 

"Signing the charter is a statement of intent that the council would work towards implementing ethical care, which would help ensure dignity and quality services for vulnerable older people, but the Tories don't seem to want to make any sort of commitment to delivering it. 

"We will continue to fight for a commitment to ethical care through the commissioning plan working groups. In the meantime I look forward to hearing that the Dementia Manifesto is signed by the Health and Wellbeing Board - Barnet has the highest number of dementia sufferers in London, and we need to do everything we can to support them.

"Both the Dementia Manifesto and the Ethical Care Charter set out a number of proposals for improving the lives and working conditions of our care workers, who often find themselves pressed for time and under pressure. The quality of care for residents in the borough cannot be separated from the working conditions of those who provide that care, and it should be an aspiration for Barnet Council to secure the best care possible for residents. That is why councillors should sign and support both documents."

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