UK & World News

  • 31 August 2014, 19:42

Warning Over 'Dramatic Rationing Of Care'

A coalition of 75 leading charities has warned of a "chronic underfunding" of social care in England, following the largest ever independent survey to be carried out into the subject.

The Care and Support Alliance says the poll has delivered a "vote of no confidence" in the system by the public.

It finds that seven out of 10 people believe they will be unable to afford care for themselves or a family member, rising to 77% among the over-60s.

Two thirds of those aged 60 and above think the Government should divert funding from other areas to social care, according to the Yougov poll of 4,500 people.

The Care and Support Alliance is made up of a wide range of organisations including major charities such as Age UK, Scope, Carers UK and the Alzheimer's Society.

They say there is now a "dramatic rationing of care".

It comes days before the final verdict of the independent Barker commission, set up by the King's Fund, which is expected to say NHS and social care should be brought together under one fund.

That would end a divide established decades ago that many argue leaves those with Alzheimer's facing inferior treatment to those with cancer.

Kate Barker, the economist leading the commission, provided possible funding options in an interim report, including the controversial idea of NHS charges.

But it is more likely that her group will call for some sort of ring-fenced tax in the final report.

Richard Hawkes, chair of the alliance, said: "Care is well and truly an election issue.

"The message from the public is loud and unambiguous. It's a real vote of no confidence.

"They are worried about who will care for them or their loved ones, if they can no longer do basic things for themselves.

"Above all, they want the Government to invest more money in the system.

"Every day, our 75 organisations hear horror stories of older and disabled people who struggle to get the support they need to simply get up, get dressed and get out of the house.

"This is also putting unbearable pressure on family carers."

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We have given an extra 1.1 billion to councils to help protect social care services this year, but we know we need to improve the system.

"Our reforms include putting a cap on the amount people have to spend on care and bringing in a deferred payment scheme to help people cover care costs without having to sell their home in their lifetime.

"For the first time the care system will be built around the needs of each person and will focus resources on keeping people living independently for as long as possible. All this will help to create a fairer system that provides people with better care."

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