Elderly care – we have to do better

Our forthcoming report Take Care is published tomorrow. The Daily Mail have a feature on it today ‘Europe shames Britain on care for the elderly’ that was commissioned by Saga. We look at all the options that Andrew Dilnot and his Social Care Funding Commission will have been reviewing and make some recommendations for transforming care and ensuring that elderly people are given the care with dignity that they deserve.

Meanwhile Prime Minister David Cameron is saying tomorrow that he will make five pledges on the NHS: keep waiting lists low, maintain spending, not to privatise the NHS, to keep care integrated and to remain committed to the “national” part of the health service.

Three of these are familiar. With the fourth, he’s addressing concerns expressed by many that we retain the ability to deliver integrated care to patients, although we don’t yet know if he will talk about integrated health and social care. However the fifth ‘waiting lists’ pledge is new and we flagged this issue up a couple of weeks ago. No matter what has been said about targets, a public litmus test of the NHS is how long you have to wait, and it is essential that he addresses this. I gather he will mention rising drug budgets though which he shouldn’t – look at the OECD figures and you will see that our drug spend has been falling – and drugs actually keep people out of hospital!

Gradually the focus is improving and we are hearing more about what the real issues are for the NHS – rising demands from those with long-term conditions and an aging population. We hope that this will be an added incentive to realising that we have to adopt new technologies if we are to transform and cope with caring demands through the 21st century.


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