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Care For The Elderly At ‘Breaking Point’


Hundreds of thousands of older people in England who need social care are not receiving any support from the public or private sector, a charity is warning.

Its ‘Care in Crisis’ report claims the eligibility criteria for social care is getting tougher and is calling for an overhaul of the system.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director for Age UK, said: “Care and support in England has reached breaking point, putting older people at risk and their families under intolerable strain.

“The figures we have uncovered beggar belief.”

The report says two million people have care-related needs and predicts that by 2014 spending on care will be £250m less in real terms.

Social care in England is means-tested – those with savings of more than £23,250 are excluded.

In 2005, half of all councils provided support to older people with moderate needs, but that has now dropped to 18%.

Spending cuts are projected to reduce spending on older peoples’ care by £300m over four years.

Author Andrew Harrop, Age UK’s director of policy & public affairs

The report’s author Andrew Harrop, Age UK’s director of policy and public affairs, said: “There has been unprecedented debate on the future of care – both its long-term funding and the ‘transformation’ of council provision today.

“But in the meantime local authority spending decisions have changed the ‘facts on the ground’ with a significant deterioration in services for older people.”

Since 2004 net spending on older people’s care has risen by just 0.1% each year in real terms – a total of £43m, while real spending on the NHS has increased by £25bn, the study said.

“Spending cuts are projected to reduce spending on older peoples’ care by £300m over four years,” Mr Harrop added.

Age UK is now calling for the Government to reform the system and commit billions to older peoples’ care.

An independent review into the system is due to publish its findings in July.

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