Councillors 'fear falling care standards'
Published on 10 December 2012 11:30 AM
The majority of councillors fear care standards will fall as a result of cuts, according to research.
British Red Cross revealed that 64% of councillors it questioned said funding for preventative or low-level social care has been reduced since the last local election.
The average drop amounts to 16%, with more than three quarters (76%) of councillors worried about the effect these drops will have on older and vulnerable people.
The charity also raised concerns suggesting that such measures are merely creating a false economy that could end up costing taxpayers millions.
A total of 69% of councillors said they do not believe the standard of care going forward will be good enough in their area.
Only one in 10 thought standards would improve during 2013, but just under half (48%) think they will deteriorate.
Home and hospital schemes could save taxpayers millions, survey finds
Deloitte compiled the data for the Red Cross, finding that maintaining home from hospital schemes can save taxpayers millions due to reduced health costs.
Researchers examined six British Red Cross schemes and revealed they offered average returns of 149% by preventing hospital stays, reducing readmission levels and reducing the need for costly residential care.
Adopting these ideas could save the NHS up to £8 million, according to Deloitte.
Retired jazz musician Colin Watson is one of those who have benefited from the charity's work, after receiving low-level care from the Red Cross after being released from hospital following bowel cancer treatment.
Mr Watson, 69, from London, said: 'I was really struggling when I got home, I couldn't walk properly and actually had to be carried up the stairs to get into my flat when I was discharged.
'I didn't know what I was going to do. I had to have a special diet after my operation but no way to prepare the meals, which were vital to me making a recovery.
'The Red Cross came in and were amazing - without their support, I am certain I would have ended up back in hospital.'
'Too many older people are going without the care they desperately need'
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK commented: 'These findings are worrying and confirm what Age UK has heard from older people and their families as well as local authorities, social workers and community nurses - that essential care and support services have been cut back, and only people with very high levels of need are receiving any state funded help. There is a consensus across the sector that too many older people are going without the care that they desperately need.
'Only offering care support to those who are already extremely frail, disabled or confused is not the most effective approach or the most compassionate. Low level help earlier on can help people regain confidence to live independently and safely, avoiding unnecessary accidents and ensuing hospital stays.
'The Government must act urgently to provide fair and sustainable funding for a care system that makes sure every older person receives help when they need it.'
Copyright Press Association 2012