Social care system in 'imminent' danger

By Laura Sharman | 16 February 2017

One in eight older people are failing to get the care they need, demonstrating the ‘imminent’ danger the social care system is in, a charity has warned today.

A new report from Age UK claimed the UK was living on borrowed time to save the social care system. 

The report revealed that nearly 1.2 million people aged 65 and over do not receive the care and support they need for essential daily living activities - 48% more than in 2010 and nearly 18% higher than last year.

Charity director at Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, 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.’

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said the report was ‘extremely worrying’ but not surprising.

President-elect, Margaret Willcox, said: ‘With councils projecting a total overspend on adult social care of nearly £450m by the end of this financial year, increases in demand and cost of social care, providers closing, a rising ageing population and those living with increasingly complex needs, immediate, significant, long-term and sustainable funding is needed to stabilise a care market in crisis.

‘Only genuine new money will solve the crisis, which will only get worse while we wait for a solution.’

Lib Dem shadow health secretary, Norman Lamb, said: 'This the latest in a long line of warnings that the social care system is being pushed to breaking point due to a lack of funding from central government.

'The mark of a civilised society is how it treats its vulnerable older people, but we are manifestly failing on this front.

'We should be gravely concerned that hundreds of thousands of people do not receive support for essential tasks such as washing, dressing and eating.

'The Government has been repeatedly warned of the scale of the problem, but now needs to act on it.

'Bold solutions are needed to make sure we are able to meet the demands of an ageing population, and ensure that high-quality and dignified care is available to all those who need it.'

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