Cuts to low-level care 'will cost billions in long term'

 

The Government’s “dangerous” and “short-sighted” cuts to home-based care for the elderly is a “false economy” which has put lives at risk and cost the NHS billions of pounds, a new study claims.

Nearly nine in 10 GPs say elderly patients are being put at risk by a lack of lower-level social care support, according to a survey by the British Red Cross.

Up to £10,000 could be saved per patient in long-term costs if lower-level care was provided to keep the elderly in good enough health to remain in their own homes, the analysis found.

The findings come as campaigners issued their starkest warning yet to ministers that radical reform of the care system is needed as part of a white paper due to be published in the next few weeks.

Last week, the Care and Support Alliance – representing 65 leading care organisations – wrote to the three party leaders urging them to agree a solution after fears that cross-party talks had stalled.

The British Red Cross study highlighted fears that a lack of high-quality support for people in their own homes is leading

to increasing isolation among the elderly, more falls and accidents, and growing pressures on hospital beds and NHS funds.

Sir Nick Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross, which provides social care support for 230,000 people in the UK, said: “As politicians prepare to debate the future of social care it is vital they have the courage to think beyond the short-term and rethink the way care is delivered, prioritising vital, preventative care which supports people to live with dignity and confidence in their own homes.”

The research found 88 per cent of GPs believe their patients are being put at risk due to a lack of social care support.

Meanwhile, 85 per cent of GPs and |82 per cent of the public think support for people with lower needs is being cut due to a lack of funding.

The survey also found that 88 per cent of GPs and 80 per cent of the public believe a lack of investment or cuts to social care is driving down standards

Sir Nick added: “These attempts to save money are a false economy, because without lower-level support the chance that patients will rely on intensive and expensive hospital or residential support massively increases, adding to the financial crisis facing the social care sector.”

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said: “Care services are becoming increasingly rationed to those with only the highest needs, meaning more and more vulnerable, older people are unable to access the care and support they need to lead independent and dignified lives. Radical reform of the care system is the only way forward.”

Case Study: Jenny and James Tomlinson

When former librarian James Tomlinson went from normality to suffering dementia within a single week 18 months ago, doctors told his wife his only option was to go into a home.

Her refusal to accept this condemned her to a long and exhausting battle to provide the care her husband needs.

Retired nurse Jenny Tomlinson, 63, who estimates she spends 121 hours a week looking after her 73-year-old husband at their Bedford home, said she was left without any assistance from the NHS or other agencies to obtain – and fund – the support services that allow her to maintain a high quality of life for James.

She said: “After I told the doctors that I would not accept him being put in a home, it was left to me to put in place the package of care that James needs. We’re lucky, we have very supportive friends and I worked as a nurse. But it is completely exhausting and there are thousands out there who don’t know where to turn. The system as it stands does not work.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'