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Older people bearing brunt of social care cuts, report warns

Older people are bearing the brunt of cuts to social care, and an increasing numbers of care homes could go out of business, a new report warns.

Older people are bearing the brunt of cuts to social care, and an increasing numbers of care homes could go out of business, a new report warns.

social care
A recent report found that social care cuts are hitting older people the hardest. Photo: IStock 

The Social Care for Older People: Home Truths report, from the King's Fund and Nuffield Trust, found the care and support older people received in England depended on wealth and where they lived, rather than their level of need.

It also said that reductions in how much local authorities pay care homes – or payment increases below inflation – mean that some are on the brink of collapse, leaving vulnerable people at risk.

The cuts, combined with shortages of nurses and care workers, the introduction of the national living wage for staff, and increasing reliance on people who can self-pay, means many care homes are ‘under unprecedented pressure’, the report said.

It warned of future firms going out of business, similar to the collapse of Southern Cross in 2011, and others leaving the market.

Funding cuts

Over the past five years, local authority spending on care for older and disabled people in England has fallen by 11% in real terms, and the number of people who received state-funded help has fallen by about a quarter.

The report said this meant growing numbers of people were now outside the system and struggling with basic needs, such as washing, dressing or getting out of bed.

The report also warned poorer people were reliant on an ‘increasingly threadbare local authority safety net’.

Unpaid carers, such as family and friends, will be expected to do even more in future, the report added, and an increase in delayed discharges from hospital was symptomatic of issues with social care.

RCN professional lead on long term conditions and end of life care Amanda Cheesley said: ‘Until social care sees real, sustained investment, far too many older people will be stuck in the revolving door of hospital admission, declining health and reduced independence.’

A Department of Health spokesperson said the government was committed to ensuring older people have access to affordable and dignified care.


Further information

Social care for older people: Home truths

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