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Long term funding of adult social care: Co-chair Caroline Abrahams responds to report

June 27, 2018

A joint report on the long-term funding of adult social care, released today by the House of Commons Health and Social Care and Housing, Communities and Local Government Committees, describes the “very great and unsustainable strain,” the social care system is under. The report highlights a substantial funding gap and calls for additional funding to meet future demand, to meet the care needs of everyone, and to improve the quality of care delivered.

Caroline Abrahams, co-Chair of the CSA and Charity Director at Age UK, has responded to the report, saying that:

“This important new report agrees with the growing consensus that our social care system is unable to meet the needs of older people and disabled adults today, let alone the much greater numbers expected to require care in a few years’ time. The big question is, what as a society we are going to do about this and we share the MPs’ conclusion that we need a bold new vision for what good care looks like, plus enough funding to deliver it.”

“Rescuing our current care system and transforming it so it provides good quality care for everyone who needs it will cost billions more and the chances are we will all have to put our hands in our pockets to help raise it. In their report, the MPs suggest that people who are better off should be asked to pay quite a lot more in various ways, including older people themselves. While this may seem like a bitter pill, it just might be one worth swallowing – but only in exchange for a social care system that we can all rely on and have confidence in, should we need it.”

“The Committee’s conclusions were informed by a lot of work with members of the public, who are reported to have strongly supported the idea of social care being free at the point of use like the NHS, if not straight away than gradually over time. Traditionally, this has been viewed by experts as too expensive, but if we are going to need to raise a lot more money to restore social care, it seems sensible to listen to what people say they want and run social care in ways they are prepared to get behind. This is also what’s on offer in Scotland so it’s surely worth looking again at the feasibility as well as the desirability of doing something similar in England.”

For media enquiries, please contact Liz Fairweather on 0203 033 1718 or at Liz.Fairweather@ageuk.org.uk

 

ADASS Budget Survey: Co-chair Caroline Abrahams responds

June 12, 2018

Today, the Association for the Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), have released their annual budget survey, highlighting the increasingly fragile state of the social care system.

In response, Caroline Abrahams, Co-chair of the Care and Support Alliance and Charity Director at Age UK, has stated that:

“When council social care bosses – who tend to issue very measured responses – say the situation with social care is bad, you know it’s really bad.”

“Despite the best efforts of councils to protect care for older people, the latest ADASS survey highlights the desperate and growing gap between the needs of pensioners and the help available for them.”

“Unless policy makers are willing to invest in care, hundreds of thousands of people face a bleak future, living without their needs being met. It is a disgrace that there are at least 1.2 million older people and disabled people, who need support with daily essentials like getting dressed, going to the toilet, taking their medication or preparing their food, who are missing out.”

“The upcoming Green Paper on social care must not only come up with ideas for improving what’s on offer, it must also deliver the funding to make it happen. This is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, it makes good economic sense too: properly funded, effective care an help keep older people and disabled people with care needs fit and well, in their homes or a care home. It is far cheaper than a spell in hospital, which will often be the only alternative. The Government needs to grasp the nettle of care funding once and for all.”

For media enquiries, please contact Liz Fairweather on 0203 033 1718 or at Liz.Fairweather@ageuk.org.uk

Co-chair Caroline Abrahams responds to Carers Action Plan

June 5, 2018

Today, the Government published an action plan aimed at improving support for carers in England.

Responding to the publication, Caroline Abrahams, Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance and Charity Director at Age UK said:

“It’s good news that the Government has launched its action plan for carers but we are disappointed that there was no hint of increased financial support for them. It’s wrong that many people who care 24/7 end up using all their savings or going into debt to make ends meet, all because the money they are entitled to is so minimal – way below the minimum wage.

Carers also need a reliable, high quality social care system that backs up their efforts & means they can get some time way to rest & recharge. The forthcoming Government consultation on social care (Green Paper) must give carers and care users real hope that things will change and for the better & quickly, and that means a big increase in State investment as well as policy reform.”

For media enquiries, please contact Liz Fairweather on 0203 033 1718 or at Liz.Fairweather@ageuk.org.uk

 

Unwell, unsafe, and unfed – 4,000 people needing care reveal a shocking picture of neglect in our care system

May 10, 2018

A survey by the Care and Support Alliance (CSA) (*), of nearly 4,000 people who need care or look after someone who does reveals the damning reality of a care system that is visibly failing and unfit for purpose. Those relying on care revealed their experiences of poor care – in the worst cases amounting to neglect – at the hands of a care system that is meant to provide a safety net for them but which often lacks the resources to do so.

The survey revealed, because of a lack of care:

  • 1 in 5 felt unsafe moving around their own home, and 4 in 10 can’t leave it.
  • 1 in 5 said they’ve gone without meals.
  • 1 in 4 said they’ve needed hospital treatment and 1 in 8 told us they’ve been delayed leaving hospital because of not being able to get the care they need.
  • Over a quarter have been unable to maintain basics like washing, dressing, visiting the toilet.
  • Over 1 in 7 (16%) have had their care packages reduced, even though their needs have increased or stayed the same.
  • Over 1 in 5 have not been able to work.

The Alliance is calling on people to add their signature to an open letter to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, highlighting the urgent need for him to act now and in the upcoming Green Paper to fix the care crisis www.careandsupportalliance.com/letter

Currently 1.2 million older and disabled people are unable to get the care they need, almost double the number since 2010(1). And despite more adults needing care, the number of receiving it has fallen by at least a quarter between 2009/10 and 2013/14 alone (2). A £2.5 billion funding gap is estimated by 2019/20 (3).

This most recent CSA survey highlights the dangers of not having enough care; the unnecessary pressure being placed on the NHS and how family and friends who step in to try to fill the gap are being pushed to breaking point.

The NHS picking up the cost of care creates unnecessary inefficiency – a hospital bed costs £2,800 a week compared to £600 for personal care in a care home and less still for care at home (4).

In the CSA report out today ‘Voices from the social care crisis’, people shared their experiences:

Lorraine Hammond, 47, from Lincoln, tried for years to get her mum good help, but carers at home and in two care homes failed to give her the care she needed. She described common problems, such as “The carers hadn’t been feeding her lunch, they had just been leaving cold soup by her bed.”

Keith Bright, 58, from Norwich said “We’re worried about our situation in the long-term, and can’t see how it can go on like this. We just can’t do this anymore, we’ve spend over £28,000 in five years on social care, and we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK and co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said:

“The experiences of thousands of people in this survey are damning evidence that that our adult social care system is broken and unfit for purpose. It is especially worrying to have heard stories from people whose care has been cut, even though their needs have either stayed the same or got worse. And the reality is that care cuts aren’t saving the Government money, the NHS is picking up the bill as people are pushed into ill health and crisis because of a lack of basic help.

“The Government must provide funding now, as well as focus on future reforms, as essential steps towards getting our care system back on track.”

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society and co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said:

“Inadequate care is now a common problem across the country and it is those who need care and their families who are paying the highest price. The stories of frustration and heartache we heard are all too common.

“Regardless of someone’s condition or age people should be getting care so they can live safely and with dignity. The Government must ensure the upcoming Green Paper proposes effective ways of meeting the country’s social care needs and urgent funding is also required so stop the widespread poor care and neglect our survey has uncovered.”

Respondents to the survey said:

“I haven’t been washed for over two months. My bedroom floor has only been vacuumed once in three years. My sheets have not been changed in about six months, and my pyjamas haven’t been changed this year. My care workers don’t have time for cleaning, washing or changing me.”

“I feel 100% let down and not heard”

“When I was caring for my mother at home getting respite care was very hard – In fact for a long time I didn’t know I was entitled. It’s a lottery as to whether social services give you the information you need about what you are entitled to as a carer.”

“I’ve become a burden to my family, lost many friends and just can’t be the husband and partner, I would like to be. It’s not just me that suffers, but all the family.”

End notes

The Care and Support Alliance (CSA) – is a coalition of more than 80 of the country’s leading charities (including Age UK, MS Society, Independent Age, National Autistic Society and Alzheimer’s Society, Scope) – who are calling for a properly funded care system.

 

About social care

Social care is an essential life support system that people rely on for everyday tasks like washing, dressing, eating and managing in the home. It also enables those who can to work, volunteer and take part in society. It helps people get out and about and is meant to support them not just to live but to have a life. Without social care, many people would be lonely and isolated, as well as at risk of crisis.

*About the survey: CSA ran an online survey 24th January 18 to the 9th March 18. The survey was shared via CSA members and was completed by 3,915 self-selecting people who identified as having experience of adult social care in England.

Footnotes

  1. Age UK, February 2017, Briefing: Health and Care of Older People in England 2017
  2. The Health Foundation ‘Briefing: The social care funding gap,’ 2017
  3. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/autumn-budget-2017
  4. Laing Buisson Care of older people UK market report 28th edition, May 2017

Key findings from the report

People told us because of not getting the care they need:

  • Over 4 in 10 said their health deteriorated
  • 1 in 4 needed hospital treatment – 1 in 8 had to stay longer in hospital and 1 in 6 missed medical appointments)
  • 1 in 5 have gone without meals
  • 1 in 5 said they have been unable to move around their own home safely
  • Over a third said they had not able to leave the house because of a lack of social care
  • Over a quarter have not been able to maintain basics like washing, dressing, visiting the toilet
  • Over half can’t do the things that are important to them
  • 4 in 10 feel lonely or isolated
  • Nearly half have had to rely on family and friends more
  • Nearly 1 in 10 were unable to care for dependents, such as children or parents
  • 1 in 10 hadn’t been able to take a break from caring for someone
  • Over 1 in 7 people (16%) have had their care packages reduced even though their needs have increased or stayed the same
  • Over 1 in 5 have not been able to work.

Notes to Editors:

Spokespeople and case studies are available for interview

For media enquires contact

Liz Fairweather on Tel: 020 3033 1718 Liz.Fairweather@ageuk.org.uk

Co-chair Caroline Abrahams ‘urgent injection of funds needed into social care’

March 20, 2018

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt made a speech today on reform to the social care system and outline seven principals for reform.

 

Responding to the speech, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK and co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:

 

“The devil will be in the detail of the Social Care Green Paper but the ‘seven principles’ Jeremy Hunt announced today are encouraging because they suggest the Paper will consider the things that really do matter to older people and disabled people in need of care – like ensuring service quality & a strong & motivated workforce.”

 

“It was also good to hear a definite commitment from the Government to publishing the long overdue  Carers Action Plan in advance of the Green Paper itself, with the latter pledged ‘before the summer’.”

 

“But however positive the Green Paper turns out to be it won’t in and of itself solve the dire funding problems facing social care today. There’s no avoiding the need for an urgent injection of Government funds into social care now, in our view.”