Age UK’s The ‘Care in Crisis’ report claims that an ‘unprecedented’ number of older people are being left to fend for themselves as a result of a reduction in social care.
The report displays that the proportion of over-65’s getting help had fallen by a third since 2005-6 despite an increasing elderly population. Despite councils increasing the proportion of budget spent on adult social care, due to the squeeze on funding which has forced councils to reduce their budgets, the actual amount spent has decreased.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK charity director, said “The figures we have uncovered in this report are catastrophic. Older people who need help and are now not getting it are being placed at significant risk and families who care for loved ones are experiencing intolerable strain.” She said this did not make financial sense either as being denied this type of care increased the risk of expensive hospital admissions.
The report welcomes many of the changes to be made by the Care Bill such as the National Minimum Eligibility Threshold. However, it questions whether some elements will negate the Bill’s primary aim to focus on prevention and build on people’s abilities and aspirations.
In reaction to the report, a spokesperson for the Local Government Association has said “unless social care funding is put on a sustainable footing, social care services will remain substantially underfunded.” They added that “the shortage of funding is being exacerbated by increasing demand. To substantially raise the standard of care on a nationwide basis, more money needs to be put into the system.”
In response the care and support minister, Norman Lamb, said “social care is a priority for the government which is why we have already allocated 1.1bn to councils from the NHS to protect services.” He added “both our health and social care services need to work differently to respond to the needs of our ageing population – we need to focus on keeping people well and living independently for as long as possible.”