Age UK's petition to save social care
Published on 24 November 2015 12:00 AM
On Monday 23 November, campaigners from Age UK handed in a petition of over 50,000 signatures to Downing Street in a call for Government to put an end to its catastrophic cuts to adult social care.
The petition is the latest phase of Age UK's Care in Crisis campaign, which demands urgent investment in and reform of the social care system.
The Don't Cut Care petition, which was launched only in September, calls on the Government to invest in community care for older people.
The reality of social care cuts
Day to day tasks that the rest of us take for granted - like getting dressed, using the toilet, making a meal, or going to the shops - can be almost impossible for many older people without help. Older people should be able to live well, not just survive, and the right care and support can help them do this.
Currently, more than a million older people are left to struggle each day without any support. And this number is growing all the time across the country. Squeezed funding means the pressures on care providers have intensified dramatically and it has become ever harder for them to recruit and retain care staff.
Damaging cuts to funding for care at home mean that many older people are sacrificing their dignity because they can't get the support they need. This is because unlike GPs or local hospitals, services to help people stay safe and independent at home are mainly arranged by local councils, whose budgets have been subject to stringent cuts for many years now.
Age UK's calls for action
Age UK is looking to the Government to take action on three fronts:
- Work with the NHS to strengthen the capacity of GPs and community health services - so older people can get the healthcare they need at home.
- Fully fund the introduction of the new Living Wage into care homes and home care providers - to save the social care sector from complete collapse.
- Fund local authorities sufficiently for them to rebuild preventive services for older people and offer a lot more social care support - so older people no longer have to struggle alone, putting their health at risk.
Earlier this year the Government announced it was not going to implement the Dilnot cap on care costs, saving the Exchequer an estimated £6bn. Age UK reluctantly agreed this was the right approach, but only on the basis that £6bn would be invested in sustaining social care. Now the Government must fulfil its responsibilities to older people by using the money for this purpose and not diverting it elsewhere.
‘Many older people depend on both to be able to continue to live independently at home. Yet years of local authority cuts at a time when the population is ageing have substantially weakened the safety net of local community services, throwing older people back on their own resources and meaning a growing number are not being properly looked after at home,' said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, ‘This is why more and more older people are going into hospital and then getting stuck there - because the follow up health and care support in the community is insufficient.'