“More than a million vulnerable elderly people are missing out on help they need because of the dire state of the social care system, the UK’s spending watchdog has said.
The National Audit Office (NAO) called for urgent action as it published a detailed report citing evidence showing the number of people over 65 with unmet care needs jumped by some 200,000 in the last year alone.
The body said a spiralling turnover of poorly paid staff and increasing job vacancies are at the root of the problem, which is being worsened by ongoing deep cuts and fewer employees from the European Union since Brexit.
In particular, the NAO struck out at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for being unable to demonstrate how it is going to fund care for the elderly in the face of burgeoning future demand.
Ministers know working out how to pay for social care is one of the biggest challenges they face, but have been unable to bring forward clear proposals of how to meet it.
The report said the DHSC’s own modelling had shown the number of full-time jobs in the care system would need to rise by some 2.6 per cent per year until 2035 to meet increased demand.
But the annual growth in the number of jobs since 2013 has been two per cent or lower.
The report said: “The failure of formal care to meet this increased demand may have contributed to the growth in individuals’ care needs not being met.
“Age UK estimated that 1.2 million people over the age of 65 had some level of unmet care needs in 2016/17, up from one million in 2015-16.”
The NAO found that In 2016/17, the annual turnover of all care staff was 27.8 per cent – with care workers. …”