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Long-term care system is ‘close to collapsing’

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26/04/2007

Nearly 20% of people will eventually need long-term care but the system that provides it is close to collapse, according to a group of charities.

Caring Choices, a coalition of charities that includes Age Concern and Help the Aged, is to launch a debate on the future of long-term care, and said that the current system is “unsustainable”, unless radical adjustments are made to it.

The cost of basic services like home help and meals on wheels has gone up by over 50% in many parts of the country over the past year, placing immense strain on the financial resources of local councils.

In the London Borough of Lambeth, for example, a 132% increase in the cost of domestic help to keep people out of hospital or care homes is projected, with the hourly rate increasing from £7.55 to £17.50.

Ray Jones, chairman of the Assembly for Social Work and Care, said: “The reality now is that social care services for the disabled and elderly people, regardless of their income and savings, are paid for more and more by the disabled and elderly themselves.”

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said that the scale of the damage to local services and the escalation of costs in the sector were “devastating”.

 

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