Old people 'forced to leave areas they know'

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The Independent Online
ELDERLY people are being forced to move from areas they know well because of lack of suitable provision, according to a report from Age Concern. The organisation calls for a new body to monitor care in the community.

Sally Greengross, director general of Age Concern England, said: 'Can we really talk about community care when people can't get help to have a bath, have to wait 12 months for an occupational therapy assessment or be forced to move from their local area because there is no suitable residential care provision. For some, community care reforms clearly do not mean community care.'

The report says that despite examples of good practice, many elderly people are losing out on the services they need because of lack of information, poor planning or simply not sufficient provision, in an area, of the type that is needed.

Age Concern says the provision of effective care is complex and needs an 'inter-departmental commitment to co-ordinate policy'.

'Rhetoric about community care will ring increasingly hollow as policies for fuel and water charging, continuing age discrimination in benefits and access to health care, reductions in programmes for new housing and renovation grants and access to public transport all interact to the detriment of those needing community care,' Ms Greengross said.

Tomorrow a health authority in Winchester publishes results of its inquiry after allegations that elderly people were discharged into nursing homes in the community without sufficient preparation, hastening the deaths of eight of them.