Plea Over Funds For Elderly Care

Many vulnerable elderly people will be condemned to “isolation and dependency” if the government does not provide extra funds for care, campaigners say.

{mosimage}Eight groups, including Help the Aged, Age Concern and the King’s Fund, have sent a joint letter to Chancellor Gordon Brown about future spending. They expressed concern social care will get a poor settlement in next year’s spending review.

The Treasury said their comments would be taken into consideration. The elderly social care currently gets just over £10bn a year – about a sixth of the NHS budget. But unlike the health service it has not been getting bumper increases – it has received between 2% and 3% compared to over 7% in real terms for the NHS over recent years.

The letter does not set out exactly what social care should get, but earlier this year a review by former NatWest chief Derek Wanless warned the budget would have to increase to £24bn by 2026 just to keep up with the ageing population.

The charities concerned warned a much larger increase would be needed if a more “ambitious” service was to be provided. 

The letter points out that investing in older people’s care will yield financial as well as social gains. It draws on evidence which suggests that investing in programmes to prevent falls reduces hospital admissions and other related costs.

The letter says: “Unless we act now, more will be denied the help they need. Without additional funds for social care, very many vulnerable older people will be condemned to isolation and dependency.”

The eight signatories were the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Counsel and Care, Association of Director of Social Services, the King’s Fund, Help the Aged, Age Concern England, Carers UK and the English Community Care Association.

A Treasury spokesman said: “The views will be taken into consideration, but the details of the spending review will not be announced until next year.”