Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist [.]

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist [.]

Article excerpt


THE good news is that people are living longer. The bad news is that our health and social care systems, designed for different times, are not coping well. The worse news is that the mismatch has been exacerbated by aggressive austerity measures by this now fading coalition government.

We've all seen the stories about huge pressures on Accident and Emergency departments where people have to wait longer to see a medic or be admitted to hospital.

This is often blamed on socalled bedblockers, a term that implies that the often elderly people in hospital beds are behaving selfishly.

But the problem is that they have nowhere else to go, either because they have no family to take on the burden or because social care, provided by increasingly under-funded councils, has failed them.

The respected Age UK organisation has issued a damning report which outlines the crisis in social care. Their overall finding is that there is rising demand for social care but national spending on such services for older people has fallen by PS1.1bn or about 14% since this government came to office.

Ten years ago, 15% of elderly people received social care but this has been steadily dropping and is now under a tenth. Yet the number of over 65s has increased by 16% in that time. Age UK also reckons that there are nearly a million pensioners with unmet needs.

The report digs deeper into the numbers, showing, for instance, catastrophic cuts in day care places, meals on wheels, and home adaptions. It finds that a third of all pensioners find it difficult to look after themselves - getting out of bed, washing themselves, going to the toilet, getting dressed, taking their pills, or cooking. Such support should always be delivered with respect and dignity. Age UK describes a care system in calamitous and quite rapid decline. And it will get worse because in 15 years time a quarter of pensioners will be childless and the safety valve of family support will not be available for them.

An Institute for Public Policy Research report estimates that this voluntary care system, which saves billions, will start to unravel in two years because there will be more pensioners in dire straits than adult children able to lend a hand. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.