The Care and Support Alliance (CSA), a coalition of over 75 charities including Age UK, is warning the Government that the sweeping reforms of the care system that will come into effect in April next year will leave more than 300,000 older and vulnerable people without basic support for daily living activities. The CSA says that an effective and preventative care system is the only way to ease the crisis facing health and social care provision in the UK.
The CSA suggests that the care system is in crisis with demand increasing but fewer people getting support. It argues that chronic underfunding of the care system is increasingly forcing councils to ration access to care to only those with priority needs. Research by the London School of Economics reveals that 340,000 people who struggle to live on their own will be locked out of the new care system, reports Age UK.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, commented: “The care system is in a desperate place with funding failing to keep pace with rising demand. As a result, care is now restricted to only those in the greatest need. The situation is bleak for those older people who need help with everyday tasks. They are being denied their dignity and peace of mind when they are most vulnerable but, without help, could well end up in hospital. Everyday there is another horror story of an older person failed by the system and sadly things will not improve until the social care funding gap is filled.”
Commenting on the CSA’s campaign, Lucie Prothero, associate at Penningtons Manches, said: “It is clear that the UK’s ageing population represents a challenge to our health and social care systems which are under increasing strain from funding cuts. We share the Alliance’s concern that the ‘chronic underfunding’ is putting many vulnerable and older people at risk.
“We are dealing with an increasing number of enquiries relating to poor standards of elderly care, either in the community or in hospitals. For instance, we often act for elderly people who have suffered falls in their homes – often with devastating consequences such as fractures and head injuries. These events can result in hospital admissions which would otherwise have been avoidable and places additional strain on our over-stretched acute and emergency care services. We then see complaints about poor standards of care once the older patient is admitted to hospital, often leading to a deterioration in their health and preventing a return to their homes. We therefore support the campaign by the Alliance to place community care for the vulnerable and the elderly higher on the agenda.”