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Elderly and vulnerable affected by NHS cuts in care budgets

Elderly lady in care home

Concern has today been expressed about a recent report claiming that local councils are being forced to cut social care because of NHS deficits.

Julian Brazier, MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, said that financial mismanagement was having a direct effect on frontline services, with elderly members of the public being particularly hard-hit.

Seven out of ten local authorities are in the process of withdrawing services because of NHS budget cuts, according to a recent survey, and many NHS organisations are referring patients who would previously have been treated by hospitals on to social services.

As a result, councils are being forced to increase waiting times for social care assessments and services and are withdrawing services from people with low-level care needs.

Mr Brazier commented: "Across the country, local hospitals are having to sack staff and cancel operations because their budgets are in the red.

"But worse, these NHS cuts are now hitting local councils, since health and social services are so closely linked.

"Elderly and vulnerable people are suffering as hospitals cut care provision, and councils do not have the funds to cope."

A report published in March by the Association of Directors of Social Services revealed that social services departments are facing a funding 'black hole' to the tune of £1.8 billion this year, directly related to the re-classification of many patients in need of health care under the social care umbrella instead.

A recent survey, conducted by the Continuing Care Conference, revealed that there are 100,000 seriously ill people who should qualify for fully-funded care.

At present, only 25,000 are paid for by the NHS and the majority have to seek help from charities or sell their home in order to obtain the capital to pay for private care homes.

© Adfero Ltd


Care of the elderly news : 1/08/2006


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