Author: Age NI
Published on 04 March 2011 02:00 PM
Age NI welcomes the news that an extra £120m may allocated to health over the next four years within the final budget package being presented to a special session of the Assembly.
The allocation of additional funds for health is a step forward in understanding the need to protect vital services now so that we do not store up more expensive problems in the longer term.
However, Age NI continues to stress the need for these funds to be directed towards social care, an area that is not being afforded rightful protection within the draft budget at present.
Our ageing demographic is a pressing challenge for health and social care which must be addressed by the Assembly now, with a fundamental shift in how social care is delivered and a serious focus on prevention and re-ablement strategies. However we recognise that improvements in health are not solely the responsibility for the DHSSPS.
Reductions in fuel poverty programmes, for example, with more than 700 excess winter deaths recorded will increase hospital admissions and result in poorer health for older people. For every £1 invested in fuel poverty measure, 42p would be returned in health savings alone.
Age NI has consistently called for greater inter/cross-departmental working to address demographic change - failure to act now will put health and social care services at risk of deterioration as our population ages and demand for services increases.