- Friday, 25 May 2012
Just 14 per cent of older people are confident the Government will find a solution to the social care crisis. Only six per cent of those aged over 55 believe the quality of social care has improved under the Coalition. 66 per cent of older people believe MPs ignore older people’s issues.
As the Coalition prepares to outline its plans for reforming social care, older people have delivered a damning review of the Government’s approach to the issue so far.
According to new research from older people’s housing and care charity Anchor, more than two thirds of those aged over 55 (67 per cent) believe the Coalition Government has not paid enough attention to social care and only 14 per cent are confident that the Government will find a solution to failures within the social care system.
Despite election promises to prioritise social care, less than a quarter of older people (23 per cent) are confident that good quality care will be made available to them when they need it. Half of those over 55 who were questioned say the care system is now in crisis due to the failings of the Coalition Government with just six per cent believing the quality of social care has improved in the two years since the Coalition took power. However, less than a third (32 per cent) believe the social care system would have fared better under a different Government.
Britain’s older generation is now calling for the Government to tackle this head on, with eight in ten (79 per cent) demanding measures which improve the quality of care available to older people to be included in this summer’s social care white paper.
Older people are also hoping the Conservative and Liberal Democrat leadership will deliver on their election pledges to create greater integration between the NHS and social care provision – 70 per cent of respondents want NHS and social care services to be more joined up as part of the Government’s white paper, thereby ensuring fewer older people fall through the gaps which currently blight the system.
Further measures on the white paper wish list include simplifying the process for applying for social care support (70 per cent). And while many in the social care sector are concerned that funding reform has been sidelined, older people said the white paper should cap the costs which individuals will be expected to pay for social care (71 per cent) and raise the means-tested threshold at which individuals must begin contributing to their own care (69 per cent). Alongside funding, quality remains a key priority – two-thirds of older people hope the white paper will improve public access to information about standards of care (66 per cent).
Jane Ashcroft, Chief Executive of Anchor, said: “Successive governments have failed to address the issue of social care funding. Older people are sending a clear message to the Coalition that the time has come to take the bull by the horns.
We hope the Health Secretary will resist the temptation simply to tinker around the edges and believe reform must address the thorny issue of how care is paid for – without this crucial element, any reforms will be nothing more than a damp squib. The next step will be for the Government to appoint a Minister for Older People who can oversee these reforms, ensure a crisis of this magnitude is never repeated and drive a more strategic approach to dealing with demographic change.”
Anchor’s research suggests that the concerns about social care are indicative of a deeper problem in MPs’ attitudes to older people. Two-thirds of those aged 55 plus and 54 per cent of the general population believe MPs ignore older people’s issues. This was a key reason why over 137,000 people backed Anchor’s petition calling for a dedicated Minister for Older People who can join up policies relating to the UK’s elderly population.
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Older people denounce politicians' record on social care - 25 May 2012
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