Care funding cap 'is a betrayal'
Published on 08 January 2013 11:30 AM
A leading public health doctor believes older people have been dealt 'an abominable betrayal' over social care.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Professor John Ashton, who is set to take over as president of the Faculty of Public Health, said a lack of funding is badly letting down the generation that actually established the welfare system.
'The elderly are frightened of what is going to happen to them,' he said.
'There is a debt of honour we owe the elderly. They fought in World War Two or contributed to the war effort and wanted to create a secure environment that came to be known as the welfare state which is now being portrayed as dependants and layabouts. It is an abominable betrayal.'
Prof Ashton, who has been a director of public health in the North West for around 20 years, added that social care must have proper funding because without it there will be constant care scandals.
'The Government needs to be more bold on care' - Ashton
Despite Prime Minister David Cameron insisting reforms will be introduced to cap 'the potentially huge cost' of social care, Prof Ashton wants the Government to be more decisive.
'They are fiddling while Rome burns,' he said. 'We need proper political leadership, strong financial commitment and some bold action, not PR.'
He also warned that it is the wrong time to be reorganising the NHS, explaining that splitting the duties between the NHS, local authorities and a new body called Public Health England would create confusion.
'We will suffer two years of blight while we go through another reorganisation,' he said.
'We are dismantling the health service at exactly the time when it is going to be needed to care for large numbers of elderly.'
Risk of more scandals
Prof Ashton described how the reorganisation process could also expose the NHS to more scandals by becoming a distraction.
He added that during his 20 years in the service this will be the seventh or eighth time the NHS has been shuffled.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General emphasised that looking after older people better should be a priority for us all. She commented: 'As we get older, our needs can become more complex and health needs tend to overlap with our care and support needs.
'Access to high quality social care is becoming harder as many vital services are withdrawn or reduced as a result of the current crisis in care. This crisis is jeopardising older people's health, dignity and putting additional financial pressure on the NHS as older people are admitted into hospital due to the tragic consequences of inadequate care.
'If older people get better quality care at home it helps them remain independent for much longer. It is fundamentally wrong that, according to recent research nearly a third of hospital beds are occupied by patients whose admission could have been avoided if there was better primary and community health provision.
'We must get better at integrating health and social care so that it meets the needs of all patients regardless of age.'
Copyright Press Association 2013