A King’s Fund / Nuffield Trust report identifies a 26% decline in the number of older people receiving social care, due largely to six years of cuts to local authority funding. Social care providers are found to be under pressure to survive, experiencing problems with staff retention and being possibly unable to maintain quality of care. Local authorities face tough decisions about which service reductions should be made.
It appears to be the elderly themselves, and their families and carers, who are increasingly left to carry the burden. Help from the voluntary sector may plug the gap slightly, as should diversion of “better care” funding from the NHS to social care.
Triggle, N. (2016). Care cuts ‘leave frail elderly fending for themselves’. [Earlier title = Care for elderly ‘increasingly rationed’ in England]. London: BBC Health News, September 15th 2016.
This relates to:
Humphries, R. Thorlby, R. [and] Holder, H. [et al] (2016). Social care for older people: home truths. London: King’s Fund [and] Nuffield Trust, September 2016.
There is a parallel report examining the impact of service reductions on typical individuals, from the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust (jointly), which was commissioned by the Richmond Group of Charities. The Richmond Group is a collaboration of twelve large health and care charities in the UK.
Hall, P. [and] Holder, H. (2016). Real lives: listening to the voices of people who use social care. London: Richmond Group of Charities / Nuffield Trust, September 2016.
Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society have criticised rationing in adult social care and the quality of care for the elderly:
Triggle, N. [and] Rhodes, D. (2016). Elderly failed by ‘shameful’ care system. London: BBC Health News, November 17th 2016.
The UK Home Care Association (UKHCA) calculates that the minimum price that councils should pay for care in the home is £16.70 per hour, whereas the average is over £2 per hour less.
Triggle, N. (2016). Councils ‘don’t pay fair price for care’. London: BBC Health News, October 25th 2016.
Risk of Legal Action From Families?
“councils [are] struggling to meet their statutory duties under the Care Act, including promoting well-being and providing high quality care to elderly and disabled people”. Richard Humphries (King’s Fund).
Councils risk ‘legal action over care cuts’. London: BBC Health News, November 8th 2016.
This relates to a briefing addressing the state of social care in the Autumn Statement:
The Autumn Statement: joint statement on health and social care. London: King’s Fund, Health Foundation [and] Nuffield Trust, November 2016.
Ros Altmann on Eldercare Vouchers and Tax Breaks for Savers
Lady Altmann has suggested the government could use tax breaks to help people save for care in later life and introduce Eldercare Vouchers as a savings vehicle to stave-off hardship in later life:
Britain sleepwalking into care crisis, Ros Altmann warn. London: BBC Health News, November 21st 2016.
A Continuing Theme: Concerning the Interdependence Between Social Care Provision and NHS Performance
Shortcomings in the availability of adequate social care, home care and community nursing etc. have predictable knock-on effects for patient flows through the NHS system more widely, resulting in record delays in discharging older people from hospital.
Pym, H. (2016). Is the NHS facing a perpetual winter? London: BBC Health News, September 12th 2016.
More on the protracted crisis in NHS performance:
Pym, H. (2016). NHS England hospital patients face record discharge delays. London: BBC Health News, September 8th 2016.
This relates to:
Murray, R. Jabbal, J. [and] Thompson, J. [et al] (2016). Quarterly Monitoring Report. QMR No.20. September 2016. London: King’s Fund, September 8th 2016.
Reversible Improvements in NHS Performance: The Lost Decade?
“Pressures from the ageing population, the cost of new drugs and lifestyle factors such as obesity are increasing costs by about 4% a year, but over the past six years the average annual rise [for the NHS budget] has been about 1%”.
Triggle, N. (2016). The NHS: how bad will it get? London: BBC Health News, September 30th 2016.
Further talk of rising waiting times, rationing and NHS staff cuts: more money or else?
Triggle, N. (2016). Patients ‘will suffer unless NHS budget rises’. London: BBC Health News, November 18th 2016.
Further BBC News analysis:
Triggle, N. (2016). Is the NHS going to break in 2017?. London: BBC Health News, December 29th 2016.