Four in five councils struggling with elderly care - report
Four in five councils are failing to provide adequate support for the elderly, a report has revealed.
The Family and Childcare Trust noted that a growing population, budget cuts and recruitment challenges left many local authorities squeezed, with more than 6.4 million people aged 65 and over living in areas that do not have the care to meet demand.
While 84% of local authorities in the UK had enough availability for care home places, only 48% had the resources to provide sufficient care at home.
And only a third (32%) of local authorities said they had enough nursing homes with support for dementia patients.
The report, based on Freedom of Information data from around 150 local authorities and health and social care trusts across the UK, discovered a geographical gap, with 57 per cent of councils in the North-east meeting demand compared with just seven per cent in outer London.
Claire Harding, head of research at the Family and Childcare Trust, which works closely with the government and local authorities, said: “It is inexcusable that vulnerable people are left unable to find the care that they need.
“We urge government to make sure there is enough care for everyone who needs it. In order to do this, we need robust data on where there are gaps in care, a funding system that truly meets the cost of providing care, and clear information for families.
“Without these steps, families will continue to struggle to find care and to meet the numerous care costs on their shoulders.”
The findings come just days before Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “This government is committed to making sure older people throughout the country get affordable and dignified care. That is why we are significantly increasing the amount of money local authorities have access to for social care, by up to £3.5bn by 2020.”
Older people's charity Independent Age responded to the report saying: “This survey exposes how serious a struggle it is for so many families to now find and pay for care for an older relative. Perhaps more worrying still, the study shows it is a family's postcode that so often dictates what experience they will have when it comes to identifying suitable care. Many families are hard pressed to meet the costs, which, remarkably, vary by over 40 per cent depending on what part of the country they happen to live in. The Prime Minister has talked about the need to do more to help British families who are just about managing to get by. There can surely be no better test of the Government's commitment to helping these families than in social care.”