Somerset Panorama films – available on BBC iPlayer

In case you missed them, the must-watch Panorama social care documentaries filmed with Somerset County Council are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

The two, hour-long films have put the issue of pressures facing social care and the need for a long-term funding solution on the national agenda. Powerful and moving, they are the result of 10 months spent with the County Council’s Adult Social Care teams and show the need for a long-term funding plan for social care.

You can watch them here:

Episode 1: Crisis in Care – Part 1: Who Cares?

Episode 2: Crisis in Care – Part 2: Who Pays?

Panorama followed case studies through the care system, showing the work of Adult Social Care Workers, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, care providers and the voluntary sector. The films document the pressures the system faces and the difficult decisions that come with the growing demand for care from an ageing population at a time of limited funding; as well as and the incredibly moving stories of families and unpaid carers looking after loved ones.

They received a special screening in the House of Commons which was followed by a panel discussion featuring Somerset’s Director of Adult Services, Stephen Chandler.

A group of eleven experts advising the Government on its social care Green Paper cited the Panorama films as evidence that the system is “underfunded, unsustainable and unfair”. In an open letter, the group called on MPs and politicians from all parties to come together to find a solution.

Councillor David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “We got involved in these films because we wanted to help make a difference.

“This issue is of such importance that it needs a cross-party, non-political solution and we are doing what we can to make politicians of all parties sit up and take notice.

“The documentaries have moved people, brought social care to life and pushed the case for sustainable funding right to the top of the political and public agenda. I’m proud of the role that this council and its staff have played in that and once again thank all the families who shared their stories and made this possible.”

A recent survey published by the NHS Confederation last week found that three-quarters of MPs agreed there is a crisis in social care and two-thirds said their social care case work had increased during their time in office.

In 20 years, 24 per cent of England’s population will be aged 65 or over, in Somerset it will be 32 per cent. By 2035, 12 per cent of England’s population with be aged 65 or over and living with a long-term illness, in Somerset it will be 15 per cent.

Every day around £605,500 is spent on social care in Somerset. Figures recently published by the County Councils Network estimate that by 2024/25 councils will need to be spending an extra £6.1bn every year on Adult Social Care, compared to 2015/16.