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Age UK is calling on the Government to inject some ‘urgent funds’ into adult social care in the Spring Budget, after warning that the care system for older people is living on ‘borrowed time’.
The report ‘The Health and Care of Older People in England 2017’ reveals that one in eight over 65s are now living with unmet care needs which equates to 1.2m people.
This is a 17.9 per cent increase on last year and a 48 per cent increase since 2010.
In addition people are waiting longer to be discharged from hospital, putting more pressure on hospital resources and capacity and leading to increased spending. Older people are also having to wait longer and longer for a care home place due to closures and less care homes offering local authority funded places.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “The Government has tried to prop up older people’s social care in three ways: through financial transfers from the NHS, a social care precept in local areas, and by calling on families and friends to do more.
“Unfortunately our analysis shows there are problems with all three approaches, which in any event are not enough to make up for the chronic shortfall in public funds.”
An increase in the number of people with complex unmet care needs is adding to the pressure on the social care system.
More people are also providing unpaid care for a loved one, especially older people themselves. There are now over two million carers aged 65 and over, yet nearly two thirds of these carers have a health condition or disability themselves.
Chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, called Age UK's report “deeply disturbing” and said it is “further evidence of a broken system”.
She pointed out that social care faces a funding gap of £2.6 billion by 2020 and said: “If no new money is urgently announced, then Government needs to be honest and upfront with the public about the limitations of the care and support we can provide, and the fact that as a society we will no longer be able to meet the ambitions and objectives of the Care Act.”
To view the report go to http://www.ageuk.org.uk/latest-news/borrowed-time-for-care/