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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee