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Care overhaul leaves over 300,000 struggling alone

Published on 23 October 2014 02:00 PM

A new overhaul of the care system will leave more than 300,000 older and disabled people struggling to live on their own, a coalition of more than 75 charities including Age UK is warning the Government.


Following a crucial Government announcement on its flagship care reforms, a coalition of more than 75 charities is calling on the Government to urgently reconsider plans that risk leaving more than 300,000 older and disabled people without support to things as basic as getting up, getting washed and getting out of the house.

With parties pledging support for the NHS, the Care and Support Alliance joins experts in arguing that an effective, preventative care system is the only way to ease the admissions crisis.

The CSA says that the care system is on its knees, with demand going up but fewer and fewer people getting support.

The Government brought in sweeping reform of the care system in May - ending the postcode lottery, backing carers and capping catastrophic costs.

The Government today publishes a final version of its new national criteria for social care eligibility - in other words, it reveals who will and who will not get care from April 2015.

Chronic underfunding of the care system has seen councils increasingly ration access to care to only those with the highest needs.

But the Government now confirms that it doesn't plan to reverse the trend.

340,000 will be locked out of the new system, research shows

Research by London School of Economics shows this means 340,000 people - who struggle to live on their own - will be locked out of the new care system.

The Care Minister, Norman Lamb, has previously said his intention is to set the level at the equivalent of ‘substantial' in the current system. This formally excludes people who are misleadingly described as having moderate needs, but who actually struggle to do basic tasks without support.

The CSA argues that sitting behind this issue is a tale of chronic underfunding.

Councils report that some £3.5bn has come out of the care system in the last five years.

The Alliance is campaigning for a properly funded care system. The call to action follows YouGov polling which shows that the public have lost confidence in the current care system and that care - along with health - is the place they'd most like to see greater investment.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, commented: 'It is hugely disappointing that the new national eligibility criteria fail to give more people access to care.

'The care system is in a desperate place with funding failing to keep pace with rising demand. As a result, care is now restricted to only those in the greatest need. The situation is bleak for those older people who need help with everyday tasks - they are being denied their dignity and peace of mind when they are most vulnerable but without help could well end up in hospital.

'Everyday day there is another horror story of an older person failed by the system and sadly things will not improve until the social care funding gap is filled. Politicians in every party need to recognise this and commit to action as an urgent priority.'

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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