Exclusive: Complaints about elderly care up by a third in a year following budget cuts

 

Social Affairs Correspondent

Elderly care in the UK is getting worse, according to new figures showing a dramatic rise in the number of people reporting that the quality of help given to their relatives is unacceptable.

The Good Care Guide, an online forum where the public can post honest opinions of care providers, has seen the proportion of negative reviews surge by a third in a year. In the first three months of last year, 19 per cent of all reviews posted on the site described care of the elderly services as “poor” or “bad”. In the same period this year, the proportion of negative reviews had leapt to 30 per cent.

The bad reviews give a shocking insight into the degrading and perfunctory “care” that many elderly people have been forced to accept.

One user of the site, David Ley, 54, Hampshire , wrote: “My mother was left alone in her room with food at the bottom of her bed that she could not see or indeed feed herself. She was not helped at all. She died after a month aged 90.”

Another user, describing the care received by her father, wrote: “He was extremely unhappy and was fearful of telling us what was wrong. He was threatened and bullied and verbally abused by a member of staff he was terrified of.”

Some of the most common complaints were about fleeting care visits, where helpers are told they have to be in and out of a person’s home within 15 minutes. The rise of these shorter appointments has coincided with cuts to budgets and many older people find them frightening and dehumanising, since they leave little time for niceties.

Experts believe that the Government’s squeezing of local authority budgets since 2010 is partly to blame for a decline in standards. They argue that the rising ageing population combined with massive cuts to budgets is contributing to a fall in quality as services slash costs.

Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, said: “It’s monumentally hard to provide good quality when faced with rising demand, rising costs and less money. Politicians need to grasp the nettle. We need a public debate about how we can improve care.”

Care provided in people’s homes received the highest proportion of bad reviews on the site, with 31 per cent judging the quality of care “bad” or “poor”. A third of reviews also said the help delivered was poor value for money.  Care homes only fared slightly better, with one in five given bad write-ups for poor care.

The shadow minister for Care and Older People, Liz Kendall MP, said: “Behind each one of these poor reviews is someone’s elderly mum or dad, or a son or daughter with a disability who is being badly let down. The huge increase in poor feedback provides yet more evidence of the growing crisis in care.”

Stephen Burke, chief executive of the Good Care Guide, said: “Care in this country is just under-funded and given the ageing population and public spending cuts it’s just going to get worse and worse.”

The Care and Support minister, Norman Lamb, said: “Action is already being taken to eliminate poor care – the CQC has brought in new rules so that it can crack down on bad services more effectively and we’re taking action so that company directors will be personally responsible for the quality of care their organisation provides.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat