- Chris Morris
- Nov 10, 2015
- 5690 Views
A major independent review into the social care system has suggested that thousands of elderly people risk being condemned to a miserable last few weeks of their lives.
The research comes in the wake of a government decision to u-turn on its decision to cap funding for the service.
Dame Kate Barker described the decision to shelve the cap as “extraordinary” and said it meant there now appears to be “no strategy whatever” to meet demand for care as the population ages.
In particular, the government policy is set to ensure that middle-class elderly people in care homes will be forced to pay extra fees in order to subsidise others.
Barker described this policy as wrong and perverse.
The decision of the government is set to have a massive impact on care bills and social care in the coming years.
Many countries are having to deal with greying populations, as Western people live longer lives.
Additionally, the relatively small number of children being born in Western countries means that there are less young people around to care for the elderly.
The number of people receiving social care in England has fallen by a quarter – or 400,000 – in the last five years at a time when the elderly population has grown by 14 per cent.
“Tackling the deficit does not need to be at the expense of older and disabled people in need of care and support. These are just awful, awful things that we’re doing to people – and that was before. One feels that those cases will get greater and I think then people will start to have an outcry,” the aforementioned Barker argued.
Currently anyone with assets, including their home, worth more than around £23,250 does not qualify for state support with care.
But reforms passed by the coalition government during the previous parliament, based on recommendations by the economist Sir Andrew Dilnot, promised to raise that threshold significantly and cap the amount anyone would have to pay in their lifetime on care at £72,000.
This decision has been particularly criticised as it represents a sacrifice of pledges made in the party’s manifesto.
It is feared that many British people could be left without care under the terms of the government policy.
As many European nations face social care issues, countries such as Germany have already begun exporting elderly people to care homes in the Middle East.
This is a chilling foreshadowing of what could occur in Britain in the coming years, and it certainly appears that the feud related to this issue is indicative of these problems.
Critics of this latest decision state that it effectively amounts to asking frail elderly people to fund the social care system.