Cuts to funding have left social care fighting for survival, a report by Age UK has revealed.
According to the report, one in eight of people over the age of 65 are living with unmet care needs. The report also states that just one in seven people will not have any diagnosed long term health conditions by the time they reach their early eighties, while 80% of people aged over 85 will have at least two long term conditions. The numbers of people aged 85 and over have increased by a third since 2007, which has exacerbated this. The resulting situation is putting immense pressure on the NHS, leaving 1,183,900 aged over 65 without the help they need to undertake essential activities. This is a 17.9% increase since 2016 and a 48% increase since 2010.
‘The evidence is overwhelming – vast numbers of older people with lots of different health conditions now find themselves in crisis because the system cannot cope,’ said NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson. ‘For too many of them, social care has gone from being a limited service to an invisible one. The case for more social care funding is immediate and unanswerable to relieve pressure on the NHS and relieve the suffering of those affected,’
According to Age UK, there has been a £160 million cut in total spending in real terms to social care since 2010. Additionally, public spending on social care would need to increase by a minimum of £1.65 billion, to a total of
£9.99 billion, in order to manage the impact of demographic and unit cost pressures alone. The charity is now calling on the government to address the crisis in social care in the Spring Budget.
‘The Government has tried to prop up older people’s social care in three ways: through financial transfers from the NHS, a social care precept in local areas, and by calling on families and friends to do more,’ said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK. ‘Unfortunately our analysis shows there are problems with all three approaches, which in any event are not enough to make up for the chronic shortfall in public funds.’