The Chief Executive of a leading charity for older people in Lincolnshire has warned how actions outlined in this week’s budget could be ‘too little, too late’ for some of the almost 100,000 people aged over 65 who live in his organisation’s area.
With estimates saying the 100,000-figure is set to increase by more than one third by 2039, Chief Executive of Age UK Lindsey, Andy Storer says there is a desperate need for ambitious plans to transform how we care for our elderly population
While welcoming more investment in certain areas of social and mental health care, Andy fears the monies pledged by Philip Hammond ‘won’t be enough to plug current gaps’ and he predicts his charity will be stretched as it approaches winter.
He said: “The £650-million investment in social care won’t be enough to reverse years of underfunding.
“Therefore 1.4-million older people with some level of unmet need for care will have to continue to ‘make do’, with many older and disabled people unlikely to see any improvement in their current circumstances during 2019.”
As the county’s leading organisation for the elderly, Age UK Lindsey covers the districts of West and East Lindsey and North Lincolnshire.
To ensure Lincolnshire’s – indeed the UK’s - growing elderly population is adequately provided for in the future, Andy urges the Government to plan properly.
He said: “Nothing could better demonstrate the urgent need for a brave and ambitious Social Care Green Paper to be delivered, which is fit for meeting the current challenges in care.”
He supports the extra NHS funding announced, but calls for a commitment to ensuring policies were in place to ‘improve outcomes for older people’.
He continued: “NHS England has been tasked with publishing a ‘ten-year plan’ before the end of the year and I hope this will include a specific emphasis on ensuring older people get better care in hospital and at home.”
He added: “People living longer is cause for celebration, but older people are more vulnerable to mental health problems and this is something which needs attention.
“Although I welcome the commitment to put extra money into mental health care, there must be specific measures to support older people’s mental health.
“Historically, older people have missed out on targeted access to support, most recently in the five year forward view, which included very little on addressing long-standing inequalities in both access to and outcomes from care.
“Overall it feels like a very mixed budget and we will see if it makes a difference as we move into what will be a very difficult winter for many older people in our area.
“My worry is that for many older people it will be too little, too late and the demand on charities such as Age UK Lindsey will be greater than the capacity we have to deliver.”