A recent study commissioned by Age UK has revealed that more than one million people over the age of 65 live in areas – dubbed “care deserts” – where there are no residential care or nursing homes. Despite the 2014 Care Act introducing a national system of eligibility, it is still a postcode lottery leaving many older people without any support.
The research carried out by Incisive Health (an independent Health consultancy firm) found that more than 1 in 4 postcode areas in England had no residential care provision. The problem is currently affecting 1.3 million over-65s and is said to be fuelled by a lack of staff. Staffing is a particular issue in the south-east and given the high number of EU staff in the care sector, the problem is only expected to get even worse after Brexit.
“If the awful situation set out in this report does not persuade our government to finally get a grip and take action, I don’t know what will” – Caroline Abrahams (Director, Age UK).
This forms part of a wider crisis within the care sector and there are a number of pressing issues that need to be addressed. Over the last five years, public spending on social care has been cut by £160 million despite rapidly increasing demand in today’s ageing population. The number of people aged 65 and over who are not receiving the care support they need has reached a critical level and with cuts in local authority care services, this will inevitably lead to more pressure on unpaid carers and the private sector.
Written by Rebecca Blundell at BLM