‘Care deserts’ revealed in Age UK elderly care research
An Age UK study has revealed that one in seven older people aren’t receiving the care they need.
The report shows that many parts of the country have become ‘care deserts’ with elderly people unable to access residential or home care whether they pay for it or not.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “Incisive Health’s report demonstrates that the situation differs markedly from place to place but in the end the fragile nature of care in our country is a national problem and it needs a national solution. If the awful situation set out in this report doesn’t persuade our government to finally get a grip and take action I don’t know what will.”
The study shows a lack of nurses means vast sections of the country are suffering from a shortage of care providers with many older people having to travel long distances to get the care they need.
While there has been a slight rise in the number of beds over the past five years, the report highlights that areas such as Hull have lost more than a third of their nursing home beds over the past three years.
Other areas highlighted in the report include Norfolk where capacity is described as “evenly distributed but thinly spread”, meaning some areas are left only with ‘inadequate’ services.
In the south west, meanwhile, the distribution of services is described as a “challenge” with limited capacity outside major urban areas.
The south east is highlighted as an area vulnerable to Brexit disruption due to a reliance on overseas workers.
Caroline added: “The report shows what an impossible position local authorities are in; they are supposed to ‘manage’ their local care market, but they lack the levers to do so and the big drivers of the problems in the care industry are way beyond their control.
“Meanwhile, they are desperately short of money to purchase care home places for older people in need, so more and more of the financial burden is being shifted onto those older people who fund their own care, who are paying through the nose to keep the system afloat. This is deeply unfair.”
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