In the 30 months between the last and the forthcoming general election, 1,725,000 requests by older people for care and support will have been made and gone unanswered, according to the charity Age UK.
The figure is based on 2017/18 and 2018/19 data which provides the number of older people (aged 65 and over) who died before social care services could be provided, or who the local authority assessed as being ineligible for care, or who the local authority signposted to some service other than care.
The charity said that in the 30-months between the last and the forthcoming general election, 74,000 over-65s in England died, never receiving the care and support they asked for. This means in the period 8 June 2017 to 12 December 2019, an average of 81 people a day, equivalent to three every hour, will have died while not receiving the appropriate care.
In its manifesto, Age UK has called on whichever political party forms the next government to invest £8 billion into the current system over the next two years to prevent further decline, and to publish a bold plan to reform social care and place it on a fully secure financial footing into the future. The manifesto also called on every political party to propose policies to help older people who need the most help.
As well as social care, the manifesto highlights other issues with a big negative impact on older people including poverty, ageism, poor housing, loneliness and ill-health.
Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “Unfortunately we have effectively wasted the last 30 months, waiting for the Social Care Green Paper that never was. Many older people have lost out as a result, including the 74,000 who had applied or will apply for a care service over this period, but who died or will die before a care package was put together and actually provided.”
She added: “It’s appalling that one and a half million older people in our country now have some unmet need for care – one in seven of the entire older population. This is a shameful statistic, and older people are developing new unmet needs for care every day.
“The truth is that our political system has completely failed when it comes to the reform and funding of social care and older and disabled people are being badly let down. This general election is the latest in a long list of opportunities to put things right and we fervently hope that this time it’s different.”