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The deficit Osborne doesn’t like to talk about – solving the healthcare crisis

The deficit Osborne doesn’t like to talk about – solving the healthcare crisis

Ciaran Osborne, Independent Age | Independent Age

3 min read Partner content

An ageing population combined with diminishing funds for social care has led the charity Independent Age to appeal for a health and care budget that looks beyond short-term efficiency. To avoid further crisis in the NHS, it calls on the Government to create an independent Care Commission tasked with securing the long-term future of social care.

This month, the NHS published its worst ever performance statistics. They saw ambulance response targets missed for the eighth month in a row, the worst performance against the A&E waiting times target since records began and the highest recorded number of healthy patients stuck in hospital beds in any month since August 2010. Members of Parliament will not have missed this in their postbags.

At the same time, hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people are missing out on the social care they desperately need. In the five years to 2013/14, half a million older and disabled people stopped receiving Government-funded care. At Independent Age, we hear from people via our advice line on a daily basis who are struggling to get the care and support they need for themselves, or their mum or dad.

Since 2010, budgets cuts, inflation and increasing demand have seen care funding plummet by £4.6bn. And this crisis is likely to worsen.  In twenty years’ time, just under a quarter of us will be 65 or over . In some authorities, like West Somerset, Rother and North Norfolk as many as two in five of the population will be over 65 by 2037. While this is undeniably welcome, it is unavoidable that it will place even more strain on health and care services.

The case for action is clear and inescapable – all of us in general, and older people in particular, need this to be a health and care Budget. The Government must take this opportunity to set out clearly how they are going to ensure that the NHS and care services will be there for us as we get older.

That’s why at Independent Age we are calling for the Government to care for tomorrow by creating the space that we need to ensure health and care services are there for us, now and in the future.

We need a Commission into the future of health and social care. It should be independent, and long term in its outlook. It must include the voices of those with direct experience of the problem: healthcare workers, patients, carers, older people, and it must be cross-party to ensure all political parties take responsibility for the inevitably challenging decisions.

Only by taking a bold step to set up a Commission can the NHS and care services avoid crisis, nothing else will do. Join our campaign for a Commission today.

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