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Record number of elderly let down by social care funding shortages

A record number of elderly people in the England receive no social care support including getting washed and dressed, a major charity has said.

According to official statistics provided by AGE UK, a record number of 1.4 million people over 65 who require assistance for everyday needs receive no care.

Of these 1.4 million, over 300,000 require help with three or more essential activities, including over 150,000, who receive no help whatsoever.

This estimates to one in seven elderly people living without social care— marking a 19% increase of unmet social care when compared with 2015.

Delayed discharges due to a lack of funds for social care schemes costs the NHS £289.1m a year which is the equivalent of £550 per minute.

Following Theresa May’s pledge of an extra £20bn in funding year-on-year for the NHS by 2023, campaigners pressured the government to pledge funding for social care. Last month over half of the public said they would pay more taxes to support social care and homelessness.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “To prevent crises in the NHS, government needs to plug the £3.5 billion funding gap facing adult social care by 2025 and reverse the £600 million in reductions to councils’ public health grants between 2015/16 and 2019/20.’’

She added: “People’s unmet care needs will continue to increase and deepen the crisis in adult social care unless the sector receives a long-term funding settlement, like the NHS, and further funding is made available for council’s public health and prevention services.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care told the Guardian: “No one should be stuck in hospital when their treatment has finished. We expect the NHS to work closely with local authorities to ensure people are treated in the most suitable setting and when they are discharged from hospital they have a care plan in place.”

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Image credit: Dean Mitchell, iStock Images


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