Author Archives: Lizzie Feltoe

Care in Crisis – time for action!

 At Age UK we’re getting excited about the Care and Support Alliance mass lobby of Parliament happening tomorrow (6th March).  We’re expecting about 1,000 people to descend upon Parliament to lobby their MPs. They want to tell their MPs know that they care about how the care and support system is failing them, their friends or relatives and to call for change.

The reason we’re lobbying is that social care is in crisis.  The current system has been underfunded for decades, which means that demand for services outstrips the available care from Local Authorities.  Some people face losing their homes and savings because of soaring care bills and many disabled people are unable to get the support they need to live their lives independently and be part of society.

Many families providing care are being pushed to breaking point because of a lack of support.  And because there is not enough to go around services are rationed, charges are high and many people simply go without the care they need to live independently.

We are calling on the Government to make care reform a priority.  In the current economic climate it will be too easy for the Government to shy away from making tough decisions about the future of social care. We need to show MPs how important it is that Government addresses the failings in the current system.

 Take action!

We’d love to see you tomorrow at the lobby itself.  Come to Church House after 2pm to register.

Alternatively if you can’t be there in person, you can take part in our Twobby– the world’s first Twitter lobby!  We’re inviting people to Tweet their MP with a question about social care and showing your support for the campaign.  We’re hoping that we can get the hashtag #twobby trending so that more people than ever get behind the campaign and put pressure on the Government to reform the system.  There’s loads more information here about how you get involved.

Tomorrow is a great opportunity to take action to end the care crisis. Age UK’s vision is of a system where all older people who need it receive high quality social care that enables them to live with dignity and gives them the ability to plan ahead.  We hope that tomorrow will bring us one step closer to making that vision a reality.

Find out about more about the mass lobby and twobby

Read our guide to twitter

Care in crisis – urgent action needed

Last week Age UK launched its Care in Crisis campaign in order to highlight to Government to widespread support for urgent reform of the social care system.

Social care is currently in crisis and is letting people down.  Across England eligibility thresholds are being restricted, charges are increasing and services squeezed.

Currently around 800,000 older people in need of care and support don’t get any formal help. This shocking figure shows just how serious the crisis has become.

For those people able to access services, the support they receive is too often inadequate or poor quality leaving them without the care they need to live safely and with dignity.

Without urgent action this crisis will continue.

So last week Age UK launched its Care in Crisis campaign and petition urging the Government to grasp this opportunity for far-reaching and sustainable reform of the care system. Continue reading

A stride in the right direction

Here’s hoping the 4th July 2011 will go down in history.  The day that Andrew Dilnot made successful recommendations for long term care reform, that the Government accepted, took forward in legislation and were implemented with pace.

We have a long way to go before we can claim success, but Dilnot’s proposals for reform are a good start towards this goal.

Andrew Dilnot was given the unenviable task of proposing recommendations which would create a better care system, one which was more sustainable, fair, easier to understand and affordable.  He has worked meticulously, gathering evidence, statistics, views from the general public and from stakeholders such as Age UK.  In subsequent blogs I will look at each of the tests in more detail, but here are some initial reactions to his proposals:

1. We welcome that Dilnot has called for more national funding – between £1.3bn and £2.2bn.  Without investment in social care any reform will not be sustainable and is liable to run into future difficulties.  We have repeated throughout this process that the Government cannot afford not to reform care, and that by investing in better essential services the Government will save more in health, housing and welfare interventions.  We know there will be a big debate about where this money comes from, but these issues can be answered.

2. We also welcome the increased certainty this package of proposals sets out.  Whilst £35k is not insubstantial, the reality is that many people pay more than this currently for their care, and those that don’t are fearful they might have to.  What the cap does is take the guessing game out of care and encourages people to plan ahead and to think about their future.  It’s one of the big disincentives in the current system and the cap will remove this. Continue reading

Launch of Care in Crisis campaign

The heat is on for social care. In recent days and weeks we have seen increasing coverage of issues showing how social care is creaking at the seams, and worse, that it often fails to support the most vulnerable people it is there for.  Stories of unmet need, abuse and market failure are rebounding in media outlets usually quiet on these issues.

Age UK has recently published its Care in Crisis report which shows the extent of the underfunding and level of demand that is facing social care, and we predict that it will only become more stretched in the months and years to come.

We will see unprecedented budget cuts to social care in the next few years (despite the extra £2bn from the Government to boost the shortfall) and the number of older people over 85 will increase by 66% in the same timeframe.  Demand will increase and supply will decrease, adding more pressure to an already overloaded system.

Which means now, more than ever, it’s critical that we have a successful proposal for reform, followed by concrete and decisive action by Government.  Age UK is looking forward to the early July publication of Andrew Dilnot’s proposals for the future funding of care and support.

Indeed this is our major beacon of hope – similar commissions have tried and failed to kickstart reform and these opportunities are rare.  It is vital that Dilnot’s recommendations are serious contenders for a future funding model so that in future we can be proud of our care system. Continue reading