Dear Prime Minister,
A pledge to fix our broken social care system
There is no more pressing domestic issue than fixing our broken social care system. Every day, more and more vulnerable older people are denied access to vital care and support. Those who do manage to receive care can find themselves in debt, draining down their savings or even having to sell their home to pay for it.
New analysis from Independent Age has found that in the last 20 years, more than 330,000 older people have sold their home to pay for care. Rebuilding our social care system is now a national emergency.
The new Prime Minister has a unique opportunity to fix our social care system, end the unjust dementia lottery of care, and deliver a new social care settlement that meets the care needs of today’s older generation and for future generations to come. With new leadership comes the opportunity to succeed where others have failed, and deliver landmark social care reforms to provide all older people with safety and security in later life.
Between 2017 and 2018, in England almost 300,000 pensioners were refused help from their local authority. A further 350,000 were signposted to other services. This means that 49% of all older people asking for care failed to get help from their local authority when they needed it.
The crisis has an immense human cost as many older people are suffering poorer health, loss of dignity and financial hardship due to an inequitable system and through no fault of their own. Home care is of limited availability, offering limited support, and high cost care homes have become the default place for many for their end of life care. Neither are focussed on promoting prevention and independence. This situation cannot continue.
Our analysis of care home performance across England in 2019 found that in the last year, more than a third (37%) of local authorities have seen care home ratings get worse in their area. This means that 2.6 Million older people are now more likely to face a poor choice of care home.
The damaging state of social care is also putting unnecessary pressures on an already stretched NHS, which comes at a high cost and provides poor value for money for the taxpayer. Indeed, the premise of the NHS Long Term Plan is based on having a fully funded social care system. Failure to act on social care will result in a failure to deliver this plan.