Urgent Government action needed on social care costs to save families from financial turmoil
Date of article: 27-Dec-12
Article By: Richard Howard, News Editor
The Local Government Association (LGA) have published research compiled by ComRes that shows how many families across England are considering ‘drastic measures’ in order to meet the rising costs of care.
According to the findings, 62 per cent of people believe they may be facing a ‘significant financial sacrifice’ in order to secure care for their loved ones, 27 per cent of people would consider selling their homes if necessary and 23 per cent would consider using their inheritance.
Councillor David Rogers, who is also chair of the LGA’s Community Well-being Board, is looking to put pressure on the Government to introduce the fair funding solution that ministers have promised since the Coalition came into power in 2010 and charged the Dilnot Commission with outlining the future of care provision.
Mr Rogers comments: “We are deeply concerned that failure to properly fund adult social care is leaving people in limbo and faced with having to take drastic measures to ensure they are properly looked after in old age. This is threatening the dignity and independence of the hundreds of thousands of elderly people who rely on council support and just want to live comfortably and without a lifetime of worry.
“We need to see reform of the system so that it provides peace of mind for older people and their families and allows them to properly prepare for the very real cost of care. It’s a scandal that people currently face the prospect of dipping into hard earned savings or losing their homes because of soaring care bills.
“The reality is that the current care system is in danger of collapsing. Unless we see urgent action the growing funding crisis threatens our ability to provide basic daily services that older people rely on such as help with washing, getting out of bed, and meals on wheels. This cannot be allowed to happen.
“These figures show that the message is getting through and the public shares our concern over the importance of tackling this issue. It’s now time for government to make the financing of social care a priority, to show that politicians really do care, and create a social care system we can be proud of for generations to come.”
Chair of the Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire), Mike Padgham, believes that 2013 needs to be a ‘milestone year for social care’ and is not surprised by the current situation as “far too many older and vulnerable people are in hospital when they could and should be getting cared for at home. Care homes also have a vital role to play in helping to keep people out of hospital.”
However, Mr Padgham also believes there is real potential to change the way the care sector works, saying: “The creation of new clinical commissioning groups provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a fresh look at how we provide care for one of the most vulnerable groups in society.
“It is my view that if you switch the emphasis and the funding from treating people in hospital to social care, you not only slash NHS hospital spending, you also give people a better quality of life and their independence.
“Instead we have a situation where, through a lack of money, people commissioning social care are actually cutting back on the care they provide, which is only going to make a bad situation even worse.”
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