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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Social care system in 'calamitous rapid decline', Age UK

Written by The Press Association

The number of elderly people receiving social care from local authorities in England has fallen by almost a third over the past decade - despite an ageing population - a leading charity has warned.

An analysis of official figures by Age UK found that the numbers aged 65 and over getting social care had fallen from more than 1.2 million (15.3%) in 2005/06 to fewer than 850,000 (9.1%) in 2013/14 - a fall of more than 380,000.

More than half the decrease has come under the current government with a drop of 215,000 since 2010/11.

The falls come despite 1.2 million increase in the numbers of 65s and over since 2005/06.

Over the same period, Age UK said that spending on social care has fallen from £8.1 million in 2005/06, to £7.8 million in 2010/11 to less than £6.7 million according to the latest figures.

Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: "This devastating scorecard speaks for itself and it lays bare the fact that our State funded social care system is in calamitous, quite rapid decline.

"Hundreds of thousands of older people who need social care are being left high and dry. The lucky ones have sufficient funds to buy in some support, or can rely on the goodwill of family, neighbours and friends. But there are many who are being left to struggle on entirely alone."

Liz Kendall, shadow minister for care and older people, said: "Age UK's research shows that this Government's reductions to social care support are having a devastating impact on hundreds of thousands of elderly people, who aren't getting the basic support they need to get washed, dressed and fed.

"Without this help, they often end up having to go to hospital. This is bad for the elderly people affected, their families and the taxpayer.

"Labour is committed to getting the best care possible for elderly people and the best value for taxpayers' money. This means integrating NHS and social care, so that services can work together to prevent elderly people reaching crisis point, avoiding the need for more expensive care in hospital and helping them to stay living independently in their own homes."

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