Dementia charity Alzheimer’s Society says the size and the scale of the problem in social care is ‘immense’ and people with dementia are being let down, as thousands of families take on extra caring roles due to a workforce crisis.
Off the back of a hard-hitting report by the BBC, supported by Alzheimer’s Society’s evidence on how people with dementia are being affected by failing social care, Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Kate Lee told BBC Breakfast the Government need to provide a proper long-term people plan for dementia.
Currently, 900,000 people are living with dementia in the UK, but the charity’s analysis suggests that nearly 60% of those diagnosed with dementia are not getting the help they need, with over half saying they’ve reached crisis point due to lack of care.
The Government promised £5.4 billion would be allocated to social care reform over the next three years, with £3.6bn to introduce a cap on care costs, and just £1.7bn promised for social care reform. Of this only £500m is promised to be invested in the workforce.
Alzheimer’s Society says this is nowhere near enough to meet current, let alone future demand, and is calling for sustainable long-term investment underpinned by a clear plan for delivering the reforms that are needed.
The Health and Social Care Select Committee called for £7bn per year to be invested in social care in England as a starting point only, stating even that will not provide further improvements that are urgently needed.
People living with dementia account for more than 70% of care home residents and 60% of people receiving at-home care. There are currently 165,000 vacancies in social care.
Responding to the BBC report, Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Kate Lee said:
‘The size and the scale of the problem facing social care is absolutely immense and people with dementia across the UK are being let down.
‘My mum’s living with dementia, and it’s the amazing carers that have kept our family going. These are difficult jobs, carried out by amazing people, but it’s so hard to recruit for.’
‘We don’t treat careworkers well enough – they’re overworked and underpaid. If we continue to treat them like this they will burn out and find new jobs, and unfortunately the proposed funding to fix this crisis won’t scratch the surface of what’s needed.’
In the report by the BBC, Alzheimer’s Society said those caring for people with dementia often did not understand their complex and personal needs and called for mandatory dementia training for social care staff.
Alzheimer’s Society Director of Research and Influencing Fiona Carragher said: ‘We know currently that 3 in 5 people with dementia do not get the support they need once they have that diagnosis, which leads to crisis in care.
‘It’s about delivering a visionary 10-year people plan, not just sticking plasters but really thinking about how we properly transform how we care for people into the future.’
‘Improving social care isn’t just important now, it’s vital for future generations too, and in a rapidly ageing society, that has to be a priority for this Government.’
‘People with dementia have a huge stake in this and that’s why – as ever – we stand ready to work with Government to deliver the radical reforms which are needed.’
Alzheimer’s Society is calling for a ten-year People Plan for social care to ensure careworkers are supported, skilled up, and retained, with better pay, mandatory training in dementia, and personalised care which puts people with dementia at its heart.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, chaired by Debbie Abrahams MP (with administrative support provided by Alzheimer’s Society), is currently focussing on issues around the care workforce, with a report due out in the coming months.