£470 million cuts to social care budgets, report warns

The report, called Health and Care for Older People 2015, shows that the health and care system for older people in England is already underperforming and under severe stress. The crisis is leading to higher costs, poorer health outcomes and a worse patient and service user experience.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK director, says that inadequate access to high quality social care is 'a destructive vicious circle’ that is sapping the resilience of both NHS services and of older people who are prone to poor health.

The incidence of elder people with long-term conditions in the UK is rising steadily. The report says that funding for health and social care is failing to keep pace.

Between 2005 and 2016 the number of people aged 65 or over in England increased by 18.8 per cent. The biggest growth amongst the over 85s had increased by 29.3 per cent. The community-based services that these people depend upon have been hit hard by cuts.

The report looked at a number of aspects regarding the health and social care crisis. These included the growing need for health and social care services; the rising numbers of people living with complex needs; trends in funding, activity and the workforce across the health and social care system; evidence of growing pressure and stress across the health and social care system and the degree to which health and social care services are effectively supporting people to stay well and independent.

Abrahams said: “All the data in this report points in the same direction. The numbers of older people in England are steadily growing, and the proportion with long term conditions is growing faster still, but investment in health care overall is failing to keep pace and spending on social care has fallen quite spectacularly over the last five years.

She continued: “Looking at all the trends in this report, if an older person asked us today how confident we were that their health and care needs will be met well in the future we would be whistling in the dark if we gave a wholly reassuring answer.

“The government has the power to change this through its forthcoming spending review and we sincerely hope they will.”

Read more