“The delays in social care reform are provoking a critical condition affecting both the care system and the NHS.
“The government says it is an ‘urgent priority’, but it seems to have redefined both words. Coalition Ministers and Shadows alike have been saying it is an urgent priority since well before the 2010 General Election. The credibility of each and every politician hiding behind that faux furrowed-brow statement falls with each utterance.
“ 'Urgent priority' means immediate identification of a problem, immediate proposal of a solution, and immediate implementation of that solution. We’ve seen it with almost-instant changes in gun law and youth unemployment policy, and breast implants could well become the next health issue to be fast-tracked.
“Each of those affects far fewer people – so it remains an utter mystery why an issue affecting not just individuals but their families too, every single one of which is up against a mortal deadline, warrants a different and more sedate definition of ‘urgent priority’.
“Andrew Dilnot has provided some workable and realistic proposals for care funding and support, but that the government has barely uttered his name since July makes us fear for the mortality of those proposals.
“We fear further delay, we fear a damp squib. The tone of Mr Burstow - in his statement that plans to change the system will be announced in the spring - suggests the government may not consider the care issue to be either ‘urgent’ or ‘a priority’.
"2012 must be a year of action not of delay."