The UK’s weakest adults have been dealt a blow by budget cuts as councils strip adult care services to their bare bones, a national association of adult careers has found.
Some disabled adults and seniors lacking the ability to wash themselves are having to tough it out, reported BBC’s programme, 5 Live investigates.
Almost all UK councils, or 90%, claim they can’t meet portions of their adult social service needs due to budget cuts amounting to £3.5 billion, a 26% reduction, warned David Pearson, director of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).
An estimated 5,000 weakened adults have seen services dropped. “Typically this will be people who have difficulties in one our two areas of their daily life, such as washing, dressing,” said Pearson.
The number of aged people in care dropped in about the last seven years from 1.2 million to 900,000, reports UK newspaper, The Independent.
The government’s National Audit Office has also warned that, in spite of the country’s need for social services increasing, the amount available for care is falling.
NHS programme takes elder care overflow
In the government’s money-saving scramble, it globbed social services’ elder care and NHS services together, gifting an amount equivalent to social services losses to the NHS in the £3.8 billion Better Care Fund.
The government is sticking the already-crunched NHS with the task of setting up home visits from weak and frail care teams and telephone services in some places, reducing overheads and encouraging elders to ‘manage their own conditions at home.’ The idea is ‘increasing the number of patients treated at home rather than in a bedded facility.’
It’s hoped it will reduce hospital admissions by 3.5 percent and avoid ‘older people are increasingly arriving in A&E with avoidable conditions’, in part by shifting them to – other places run by the NHS. In Kent, ‘Patients will have access to 24/7 community-based care…but do not need to go to hospital where this is appropriate’. In Greenwich the fund will ‘respond(s) to emergencies to which they are alerted within the community at care homes, A&E and through GP surgeries (and dealt with) through treatment at home or through short-term residential care.’ (4)
These are likely to be the same people who have been at some point affected by social services cuts.
The Department of Health recently cut the number of Better Care Fund areas that are fast-tracking their plans from 14 to six, Public Finance reported.
Basic income a simple solution
Similar emergency fund proposals to patch up the social consequences of cuts gone awry have come from other corners.
Citizen’s Income Trust explained in a recent blog posts that a weekly wage for every citizen, in the UK, or potentially all of Europe, would help simplify the British social services systems, at the same time zeroing out some administrative costs of proposed emergency funding.
“Helicopter drops” of money from central banks to citizens are being seriously touted as a way to curb inflation driven by the budget-cutting programme known as Quantitive Easing.
The idea was proposed in a recent article authored by Mark Blyth, Brown University Professor and the author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea.
1. Cuts dealing social services fatal blow – BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29135042
2. Citizens Income Trust research outlines alternatives to cuts: http://citizensincome.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/quantitative-easing-funding-for.html
3. Better care fund: http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/part-rel/transformation-fund/bcf-plan/
4. “Safe, compassionate care for frail older people using an integrated care pathway: Practical guidance for commissioners, providers and nursing, medical and allied health professional leaders” www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/safe-comp-care.pdf