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The size of the social care problem: three million hours of care lost in three years

By: Age UK
Published on 01 June 2018 09:00 AM

A new report from Age UK reveals that three million hours of home care services have been lost since 2015 due to Central Government cuts.

Behind the Headlines – The Battle to Get Care at Home (PDF, 300 KB)  includes real-life stories illustrating the appalling human consequences of councils struggling to meet the growing need for home care.

These include an account from Brian. Brian had a care assessment from social services three months ago but has had no follow-up since; he’s currently having to sleep on the sofa in his living room as he can no longer manage the stairs – a situation that’s left him feeling suicidal.

Are ‘care deserts’ on the horizon?

Then there’s Sally, whose local council is unable to find a place in a care home for her seriously ill father-in-law. Hers is a recurring problem across the UK that highlights the possible emergence of ‘care deserts’ in some areas, where it’s impossible to find any care at all.

These stories are just a couple of those included in the report, which also reveals that between 2009-10 and 2016-17:

  • the average spend on social care per adult has fallen by 13 per cent.
  • 400,000 fewer older people received social care, as eligibility criteria were tightened to deal with the rise in demand for social care despite reduced funding.

Why it’s important to respond to the crisis

“When the care market is so obviously broken, for the sake of older people the Government must intervene,” says Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK. “Commentators say that Ministers want to give the NHS a 70th birthday present in the form of an enhanced funding deal. Quite right too – the NHS is buckling – but it is essential that they respond to the social care crisis at the same time.

“This is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, it makes good economic sense too: good home care keeps older people fit and well in their homes and is far cheaper than a spell in hospital or a care home – the typical alternatives.”

Care in Crisis

Learn more about the scale of the social care problem, watch our video, and contact your MP.

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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