Letter: Elderly population culled by neglect

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The Independent Online
Sir: For the second time in a fortnight a highly responsible organisation, this time the King's Fund, has published a report predicting grave problems if provision for the growing frail elderly population is not urgently improved. Age Concern, the Rowntree Foundation, and many others, have carried out similar measured studies, all reaching the same conclusion. Perhaps, on behalf of the 50 members of this association, together providing hundreds of nursing and residential beds, I may add a little emotion to the debate.

We anticipate that when, in April next year, the NHS and Community Care Bill comes into force, chaos will ensue. Ill-prepared and under-funded local authority social service departments will struggle to provide inexpensive packages of care. It will only be months before the first stories of lingering death appear in the press, and as the numbers in need grow, the national stock of beds will decline, due to a new and unworkable contract culture that will close large numbers of residential and nursing homes.

Perhaps we do live too long, perhaps the cost of care is prohibitive, but surely to cull the population by neglect is not acceptable in a society as affluent as ours.

Yours faithfully,

GEOFFREY C. ATKINSON

Chairman

Occupational Benevolent Funds

Alliance

Ascot, Berkshire

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