Age UK response to Spending Review
Published on 25 November 2015 04:00 PM
Age UK response to Spending Review: "The most worrying element however is that the extra money promised for social care is deeply uncertain"
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:
"Having asked for it, we are pleased the Government is front loading investment in the NHS, to support the full implementation of the 5 Year Forward View we hope, with its huge potential to improve healthcare for older people.
"But on social care the picture is complex and we have some serious concerns. The most promising aspect is the doubling of the value of the Disabled Facilities Grant by 2020, which should help more older people to adapt their homes before they have a fall, rather than after it as so often happens now.
"The most worrying element however is that the extra money promised for social care is so deeply uncertain - depending as it does on councils applying a 2% precept on council tax - but in any case this supposed extra money for social care is not nearly enough. Even on the most optimistic reading of the measures announced today there is no taking account of the growth in need due to our ageing population and a million older people in England already have at least one unmet need for care. Expect these numbers to get considerably worse.
"If you read the detail behind the Chancellor's speech you can see a new way of funding and organising social care being envisaged by 2020, based on a fully integrated approach with the NHS for the care of older people coming into and leaving hospital, and with councils using local funding sources to pay for the long term care of local residents who can't afford to fund it for themselves. Managing the transition from where we are now to this new approach will be fraught with difficulty and we fear some very vulnerable older people could fall between the cracks and be badly let down along the way. The top priority must be to make sure this doesn't happen.
"And more worrying still in the shorter term, with no reimbursement promised for the introduction of the new Living Wage into the care sector next April, we fear increasing numbers of private care homes will close their doors to council funded residents, further reducing choice in an already thread-bare market, ultimately making hospitals the place of last resort for people with nowhere else to go.
"The Chancellor rightly talked today about the importance of security, but regretfully for older people who need social care the next few years look worryingly uncertain."
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