Ten Years of Community Care Leaves Older People in Crisis
New Help the
Aged report: Nothing Personal: rationing
social care for older people
years of chronic underfunding of community care has resulted in older people
facing increasing rationing of key services says a new in depth study entitled
Nothing Personal: rationing social care for older people commissoned by Help
the Aged and carried out by the University of Leicester.
Changes in policy, such as the withdrawal
of the NHS from almost all long-term provision, the redefinition of nursing
care, and changes in capital limits for residential and nursing home care - have
not only put additional demands on over-stretched local authorities, but led to
a disproportionate allocation of resources going into hospital care at the
expense of social care.
central government guidance to target resources to those in most acute need has
resulted in serious cuts in preventative help.
has simply not kept pace with need and this is having disastrous consequences
for older people" says Gail Elkington, Policy Officer at Help the Aged,
"It is recognised that prevention is a key principle of social care.
Yet more and more people are facing barriers, rationing, uncertainty and
long delays. We urgently need to
see this chronic inadequacy in funding addressed in the Chancellor's forthcoming
Comprehensive Spending Review.
also want to see far greater transparency from local authorities about what
people can expect from service providers. For
example, many older people find that the eligibility criteria are tightened or
cut. They fear charges may be
levied. Reductions in staffing
levels are leading to long waiting times for assessment and services."
report, carried out by Nuffield Community Care Studies Unit at the University of
Leicester and financed by the Community Fund, looks at the policies and
practices of six local authorities across England and Wales in determining how
older people can access social care. It
is based on interviews with local authority social services departments,
voluntary sector and independent providers of care services, older people who
use the services and their carers.
worrying factor exposed in the study is the opening gap in the quality of care,
as independent providers attempt to manage with the lower fees that local
the Aged is calling for:
greater resources for
social care services
fairer and more even
distribution of social care servces
higher priority to be
given to so-called 'low level' needs
an end to the arbitrary
differentiation between social care and health care.
Social care funding is well below that of the NHS.
Note to Editors
A copy of the full report, Nothing Personal is available price £15 (inc
p&p) from Jenny Havis, Help the Aged, 207 – 221 Pentonville Road, London
National Statistics on home care (CSSRs) published March 2002 show that
395,000 people receive home care. The
number of contact hours of care has risen by three per cent, off set by a four
per cent fall in the number of households receiving home care.
This shows that councils are having to provide more intensive levels of
support for fewer people
further information contact:
Rachel Harford/Hilary Carter Tel: 020 7 239 1940, ISDN for Radio interviews:
0207 713 1340, www.helptheaged.org.uk,
This document has been approved by the head of department or section.