Alzheimer’s Society have submitted a Budget representation to the Government, outlining what we want to see in the upcoming budget on 11 March for people affected by dementia.
With reform of social care on the political agenda for 2020, the upcoming Budget is a chance for the Government to show their commitment to improved funding and access to dementia care.
They are calling for an immediate investment of £8bn to stabilise the social care system, which is currently at breaking point, saying: “If we can stabilise the care system now, we can begin to reform it for the future, and the increasing number of people with dementia who will need it.”
“£8bn will allow the first vital step to improve access to social care. This will have benefit across the board – for families affected by dementia, for the economy, and for an already strained NHS.”
Ending the financial inequality of having dementia
As dementia progresses, the majority of costs people face are related to the help they need to do the things they can no longer do for themselves. Unlike other health conditions, these costs are not covered by the NHS.
People affected by dementia face catastrophic costs due to the lack of social care funding. We estimate typical dementia care costs are around £100k, although this can be as much as £500k, and our research has found that if people were to save for the cost of their dementia care at the same rate as their pension, they would have to save for 125 years.
Investment in the social care system would alleviate the debilitating financial pressures placed on families affected by dementia.
Reducing avoidable costs to business
If people affected by dementia were to receive the support they need, it would not only benefit their wellbeing, but would also prevent costs to the health care system and wider economy.
Improved access to care would reduce the impact on carers’ mental and physical health and enable people affected by dementia to stay in the workforce for longer. Over 112,000 carers of people with dementia are no longer in paid employment due to their caring responsibilities. The loss of their skills and experience is estimated to have cost English businesses almost £2.6bn in 2019.
Without any change to accessing care, the current social care system will only negatively impact our economy, as we lose workforce members who have no choice but to become unpaid carers.
Stopping the waste of scarce NHS resources
The failing social care system is having a disastrous impact on our NHS. The funding which the Government has rightly provided to the NHS is at risk of being wasted without an equivalent investment into the social care system. The challenges in the NHS and social care are interlinked and in the long term the Government must choose to fix both or end up fixing neither.
Emergency admissions for people with dementia have risen by over a third in five years, an increase that costs the NHS an estimated £280 million a year. Improved social care for people with dementia would benefit the NHS, meaning fewer people with dementia are forced to go to A&E in crisis, and having better support in place helps enable them to leave hospital as soon as they are well enough.
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