Campaigners are renewing calls for urgent government reform to adult social care after NHS figures revealed that almost a quarter of older people seeking help in England were denied it.
NHS Digital’s ‘Mid-Year 2020-21 Adult Social Care Activity’ data shows the number of requests to local authorities for support received from new clients aged 65 and over between 1 April and 30 September 2020 tallied 495,575 while ‘no services provided’ – unmet care requests – totaled 113,775.
Older peoples’ charity Independent Age said the “damning” figures are the equivalent of more than 600 over-65s a day “denied support for basic tasks such as help washing, preparing meals, and going into town”.
“The government cannot allow this to continue. The current social care system is under-funded and people have told us they feel denied their dignity,” added Independent Age chief executive Deborah Alsina MBE (pictured).
“Significant cuts to budgets since 2010 have forced councils in England to ration access to social care. Politicians must seize the opportunity to create a care system that allows people in later life to live with dignity, choice and purpose.”
Independent Age called on the government to bring forward a funding plan that “ends the cycle of crisis in social care, and it must be distributed fairly based on need”.
“Care should be free at the point of use, paid for through general taxation, to ensure everybody can receive the help they’re entitled to,” said Alsina.
NHS Digital meanwhile revealed that gross current expenditure on adult social care by local authorities was £19.7 billion in 2019-20. That represents an increase of £918m from the previous year, a 4.9 per cent increase in cash terms and a 2.4 per cent increase in real terms.
The ‘Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report, England – 2019-20’ report also revealed the average cost of residential care for a person aged 65 and over rose from £636 per week in 2018-19 to £662 per week in 2019-20.
The average cost of nursing care for the same age band increased from £678 per week in 2018-19 to £715 per week in 2019-20.