Despite a greater demand for services, vulnerable adults are increasingly being left to fend for themselves.
The number of adults receiving state-provided care has plummeted by almost a third following Government cuts to council budgets, official figures show.
Despite an ageing population meaning greater demand for services, vulnerable adults are increasingly being left to fend for themselves. In the last five years half a million fewer people have received state-provided care, a fall of 29 per cent, according to figures for England released today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Liz Kendall, Shadow Care Minister, said: “Today’s figures show the true scale of the care crisis unfolding under this Government.
“More and more elderly and disabled people are being denied vital services to help them get up, washed, dressed and fed. Families are left struggling to cope and seeing their own health suffer too.
In total, 1.26 million people were given community, residential or nursing care in England in the year to March 2014, down five per cent from the previous year. Five years ago 1.78 million people were able to get state-provided help.
Government cuts to councils’ overall budgets mean local authorities have had to slash the money given to adult social care by 12 per cent since 2010, according to recent research from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). This means councils have drastically raised the threshold for when they are prepared to help elderly people or those with disabilities.
David Pearson, president of ADASS, said: “Councils up and down the country have done their very best to make the money stretch, but directors are extremely worried about this situation. Public expenditure has gone down as needs are riding and we do think there’s a need for urgent investment.”
As the population of over-85s grows, and health advances mean more people with complex disabilities survive into adulthood, demand for adult care is growing rapidly. Yet this latest data shows the number receiving help is falling.
Although there were more than 2.15 million new applications for some form of care in the last year – an increase of 4 per cent – just 388,000 people were actually given it.
Simon Bottery, Director of Policy at the older people’s charity Independent Age, said: “The grim reality is that the number of people getting help with social care – washing, dressing and other basic functions – has been in freefall for the last five years as local councils respond to central government funding cuts. Councils now provide services to half a million fewer people, with those no longer eligible now likely to be relying on family and friends, paying for services themselves – or doing without.
“Last year, more people called councils for help than ever before but only a quarter got further than the call centre and only 1 in 6 ended up getting help. It’s onto this creaking and groaning system that the government is attempting to graft its flagship Care Act, expecting it to cope with tens of thousands of older people who are – in theory at least – newly entitled to local government help with their care bills”.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Right now, local authorities can decide what level of need a person has to get to before they get support – we are ending this system by introducing national criteria. We have also given an extra £1.1bn to councils to help protect social care services this year — on top of additional funding in recent years.
“Councils are ultimately responsible for deciding how to spend their budgets but we agree that we all need to work differently to respond to the challenge of our growing ageing population. The Care Act and the Better Care Fund will focus resources on helping people to live independently, which can save money and prevent people from needing more support.”
However, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said reforms would not be enough without more money. “We need to ask how effective new policies will be for improving the quality and reach of social care when the daily reality is one of rising demand and falling council funding. Politicians in every party need to recognise this and commit to increased investment in social care as an urgent priority.”
Source: The Independent
This is the result of the government’s draconian policies implemented under the BIG LIE of ‘Austerity’.
They have cut welfare, social care, council budgets, and expect the NHS to take up the slack with less resources, with each policy affecting the other to create a snowball of chaos and stress for every normal citizen in the country.
To describe this as incompetence is mild. It has been deliberate and calculated, with little or no regard for the real impact on the vulnerable in society.
At the same time the government continues to waste vast amounts of taxpayer’s cash on projects which benefit a few cronies. Hardly a fit and proper way to govern a country – more the actions of a dictatorship or banana republic.
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