Commenting on the release of Adult Social Care activity data by NHS Digital, Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:
"These damning latest figures underline the urgent need for reform of our broken social care system.
The statistics from NHS Digital, taken between April and September of this year, reveal that almost a quarter of older people who were seeking social care help were denied it. The equivalent of more than 600 older people a day were denied vital support for basic tasks such as help washing, preparing meals, and going into town. The government cannot allow this to continue.
At Independent Age, people in later life reach out to us when they are anxious and confused about the care and support they are entitled to. For many the daily realities are bleak, they cannot get to the loo, find it hard getting out of bed, can’t cook independently, or they are caring for someone close to them. The problems people face have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current social care system is under-funded and people have told us they feel denied their dignity. Significant cuts to budgets since 2010 have forced councils in England to ration access to social care. A 2020 survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Services found that only 4% of directors of adult social care are fully confident that their budgets are sufficient to meet their statutory duties. The government must 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.
We’ve been waiting over a year for the Prime Minister to fulfil the promise he made to reform 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."