There has been a staggering 81% increase in the number of people over the age of 90 taken to hospital by ambulance in the last three years.
Data from tables of ambulance activity in England shows that 300,370 people in the age group were taken by ambulance to A&E over the last year, up from 165,910 in 2009/10.
The figures were published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and used by the Labour Party, who said they prove that cuts to social care funding are increasing demand for hospital attention.
House of Commons library data shows spending cuts to the tune of £1.8 billion since 2009 in adult social care, according to shadow secretary of state for health Andy Burnham, who said they have left thousands of older people without adequate support.
Mr Burnham also warned of the risks of leaving older people in A&E, where they may be admitted into a ward, possibly to the detriment of their health.
He said: ‘It is appalling to think that, every week, there are thousands of frail and frightened people speeding through our towns and cities in the backs of ambulances to be left in a busy A&E.
‘This is often the worst place for them to be and a disorientating experience that can cause real distress. With proper support in the home, this could all be avoided.’
Charity director at Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, acknowledged it was sometimes necessary for older people to be admitted to hospital to receive the treatment they need.
However, she added that some hospital admissions have been caused by a lack of quality care at home and could have been avoided with the right level of support.
She warned of a ‘crisis in care’ that has led to vital services being axed or scaled down.
‘Smarter thinking about how to prevent people reaching crisis point and by meeting their needs will not only improve the experience and outcomes for patients but also has the potential to save money,’ she said.
‘The core of the problem is that funding for social care has failed and is still failing to keep up with growing demand. Legislative reform is vital but pointless unless sufficient funding is in place.’