Over 50,000 older people have died awaiting care during the 700 days since the Government first pledged to publish its Green Paper, according to new research.
Age UK said that since Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement of the Green Paper in the Spring Budget of 2017, 54,025 had died while awaiting a care package.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK said: “These tragic new figures demonstrate just how many older people are now suffering from the Government’s failure to act decisively on social care. No one can say whether some of those who have died might have lived longer had they received care, but at the very least their final weeks and months might have been more comfortable and their families’ lives made easier, had they been given more support.”
Age UK said that, over the same period, 626,701 people had had their requests for social care refused by their council and 7,240 people had used all their savings to pay for care bills.
The charity added that more than 1.2m people had developed an unmet need such as being unable to wash or dress.
Commenting on the findings, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “The current system of social care is unsustainable and will buckle under the weight of demand. With people living longer, increases in costs and decreases in funding, adult social care is at breaking point. This is something that the Government must address in its Green Paper on social care and in the forthcoming Spending Review.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring everyone has access to the care and support they need and have provided local authorities with access to up to £3.6bn more dedicated funding for adult social care this year and up to £3.9bn for next year to help meet people’s needs.
“We are determined to make social care sustainable for the future and will publish our proposals in a Green Paper shortly.”