A major new study suggests that the cost of social care will escalate rapidly in the coming years.
New research indicates that there will be a 25% increase in the number of people requiring social care between 2015 and 2025.
Within just eight years, over 2.8 million people over 65 will require some form of care.
This can be largely interpreted to be indicative of rising dementia in a greying population.
The respected Lancet Public Health medical journal published the research, and indicated that cases of disability related to dementia will increase by 40% over the period studied, among those aged between 65 and 84.
These new figures follow closely on considerable criticism of the Conservative manifesto with regard to social care.
This indicated that those requiring care at home would be forced to pay for this treatment until they had £100,000 in savings remaining, which included the value of their home, leading to accusations of the imposition of a ‘dementia tax’.
“The societal, economic and public health implications of our forecast are substantial,” the researchers, led by academics from the University of Liverpool and University College London, assert.
And the study goes on to outline the extent of difficulties that social care will face in the coming years.
“Public and private expenditure on long-term care will need to increase considerably by 2025, in view of the predicted 25% rise in the number of people who will have age-related disability. This situation has serious implications for a cash-strapped and overburdened National Health Service and an under-resourced social care system.”
Important datasets such as the growing disease burden and the increasingly elderly population have been taken into account in the research, along with anticipated longer life expectancy.
And Professor Stuart Gilmour, from the department of global health policy at the University of Tokyo, published a commentary alongside the main paper in which he indicated that “the results show starkly the growing burden of disability that the UK National Health Service and social care system will face over the next decade.”
Gilmour goes on to argue that the situation will only intensify in the coming years and decades.
“The UK faces a rapid increase in the number of elderly people with disabilities…at a time when it is uniquely unprepared for even the existing burden of disability in the UK population. This important research should be taken as a warning and a strong call for action on health service planning and funding, workforce training and retention, and preparation for the ageing of British society.”
And Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, suggested with regard to the research that increased investment in social care is absolutely essential.
“We need to ensure that our patients are living longer with a good quality of life. For this to happen we need a properly funded, properly staffed health and social care sector with general practice, hospitals and social care all working together – and all communicating well with each other, in the best interests of delivering safe care to all our patients.”