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Urgent cash injection required for 'invisible' social care need

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Social care has become “invisible” to too many vulnerable elderly people as a result of government underfunding, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation has said.

Responding to a report by Age UK published today, which found the social care system was on the verge of collapse in some areas, Niall Dickson said more money was urgently needed to address the suffering of those not receiving adequate support.

He said: “The evidence is overwhelming – vast numbers of older people with lots of different health conditions now find themselves in crisis because the system cannot cope.

“For too many of them, social care has gone from being a limited service to an invisible one.

“The case for more social care funding is immediate and unanswerable to relieve pressure on the NHS and relieve the suffering of those affected.”

He added long term solutions to these problems were not just financial and said the health and care system “needed to be redesigned” through better integration.

The Age UK report, entitled The Health and Care of Older People in England 2017, found the number of older people who do not receive the support they need for basic daily activities continues to grow, with one in eight now living with unmet need.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services described the report’s findings as “worrying, yet unsurprising”

Adass’ president-elect Margaret Willcox said: “Only genuine new money will solve the crisis which will only get worse whilst we wait for a solution.

“Until this time, more older and disabled people will not get the dignified support they rely upon, an even greater toll will be placed on the 6.5 million family members and other carers, increasing pressures will be placed on our hospitals and even more care homes will close, leading to growing gaps and failures in the care market.”

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