This week we have a blog post from Mervyn Kohler, Special Adviser, at Age UK.
Even before the Scottish referendum campaign, there was a growing surge of interest in more devolution. It is a theme supported by all of the political parties. It is presented as the most promising way to get appropriate policies and practices implemented across areas and communities with widely varying needs, and also as a key to local economic regeneration and growth.
The early days of the Coalition were characterised by an enthusiasm for localism and the Big Society, and the burst of legislative activity linked to this was in some respects the harbinger of the deeper devolution idea. Conservative distain for ‘big government’ and Liberal instincts for local democracy came together serendipitously. We had local government given a ‘general power of competence’, and neighbourhoods were empowered to develop local plans (to address spatial planning and planning permission issues) and eventually to draw up neighbourhood or community budgets. We have the Community Right to Challenge (for the delivery of public services), the Community Right to Build (if approved by a local referendum), and the Right to Bid for community assets. Continue reading
Posted in Communities and inclusion, Government, Local government
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, ageing population, ageing society, Communities and Inclusion, devolution, localism, Mervyn Kohler Age UK, older people
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
Our latest blog has been contributed by Mike Smith, joint Head of Public affairs at Age UK, commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
As we continue to digest the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor’s announcement contained some welcome news for older people, but lacked action on some of the biggest issues Age UK has been campaigning on to make Britain a great place to grow older in the coming years.
What was in the statement? Certainly we heard some welcome news around the £2billion extra funding for the NHS, and the additional £1.2billion to improve GP services. As people grow older many of us will rely more and more on vital health services. As Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, highlighted in the Five Year Forward View the NHS will need an additional £8billion a year in the coming years and so this is a positive start. Continue reading
Posted in Autumn Statement, Campaigning, Government
Tagged #autumnstatement, A great place to grow older, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Chancellor's Autumn Statement, George Osborne Autumn Statement, George Osborne older people, older people
The mild days of late autumn are barely gone, yet concerns about a looming winter crisis in the NHS are already hitting the headlines. With financial pressure growing, performance targets slipping and hospitals already overstretched, a political storm has hit Westminster and Whitehall. Could another cold snap tip the NHS over the edge?
A SLIPPERY SLOPE?
Winter pressures in the NHS happen every year, as a result of higher emergency admissions and increased numbers of people requiring hospital care (e.g. people with respiratory conditions or winter viruses). Most of those affected are older people, many of whom have higher care needs and can be more vulnerable to the cold.
Yet, despite anticipatory planning and the usual precautions, there are growing concerns that accident and emergency (A&E) services are heading inevitably towards a midwinter meltdown. NHS statistics have revealed that A&E performance in late autumn this year has been worse than in the depths of last winter.
On average over the past four weeks, just 93.5% of patients attending A&E in England were seen within four hours, with 23 trusts failing to reach 90% last week. By contrast, above 95% of patients were seen within the required timeframe last winter.
WHAT ABOUT PATIENT SAFETY?
The unprecedented demand on A&Es has serious implications for older people’s health and experience of care. The high levels of bed occupancy have led to people being held in ambulances outside the hospital or waiting on trolleys for many hours. This has also had a knock-on effect on other hospital services, with patients having their appointments and operations cancelled.
For the many older people who are lonely and isolated, or living with frailty or dementia, the inability of A&Es to respond to their needs can be disastrous. Due to a lack of appropriate support in the community, they are often forced to wait until they reach a crisis for a response and rely on emergency admissions for help. Arriving in a worse state of health, they are then faced with a fraught and overstretched urgent care centre or A&E. Continue reading
December 3, 2014 in Autumn Statement, Government, Health, Health and Wellbeing, Home and Care, Public Policy
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, crisis in NHS funding, Health, Health & wellbeing, NHS, NHS funding, older people, Tavistock Square debates