Elderly Care Pledge ‘at risk’

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

The government’s pledge to try to make England a world leader in elderly care is at risk of becoming “superficial” words, council chiefs warn.

According to council chiefs, over the past two years social care services have been cut by about 15%. The Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said the social care crisis needed to be solved.

Jeremy Hunt is expected to tell the annual ADASS conference in Eastbourne on Thursday that he wants England to become “one of the best countries in Europe to be old” and that councils “must take the lead” in terms of elderly care.

To help with this, Hunt will be announcing a £50m fund for hospitals and care homes to help pay for improvements to help patients with dementia. These could include things such as hi-tech lighting, smells and sound to stimulate those with the condition.

However, the ADASS warned that mainstream services are under too much strain to achieve the goal. David Rogers from Local Government Association said “unless we see urgent action the growing funding crisis threatens our ability to provide basic daily services that older people rely on, such as help with washing, getting out of bed and meals on wheels”.

The government is considering reforming the system to cap the costs individuals have to pay. This was an idea put forward by the Dilnot Commission last year. However the Local Government Association and ADASS have argued that such a change will do nothing to solve the funding problem with ADASS president Sarah Pickup saying the Dilnot proposals were just “one piece of the puzzle“. She said that at the moment social care is “a minimum wage industry. We have to think about what good care costs and be prepared to pay it”.

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