Thousands lose right to help at home

Caring for elderlyPA

Spending cuts mean that 12,000 people have lost their right to help at home. Their councils have been making draconian cuts to services and have decided that thousands are no longer sick, elderly or disabled enough to qualify for help dressing, cleaning or eating. Others were simply told that some of these services were no longer offered.

But can this be right?

Help withdrawn

The figures come from the Department of Health, which found that the number of adults given help in their home fell by 8% last year alone. It was down from 1.46 million to 1.34 million - leaving 12,000 people high and dry.

The report was keen to point out that this wasn't always a case of someone being left to fend for themselves. In some cases it was just a change in how the person was cared for. However it also cited: "raising the level of need at which people become eligible for services and stopping some types of services altogether."

It meant that despite the rising number of people who need help, the amount spent on help in the home fell after inflation. In stark figures the spend actually rose from £16.8billion last year to £17billion. However, that's actually a 2% drop once you take inflation into consideration.

Difficult choices

David Rogers, of the Local Government Association, defended to the move to the Daily Mail, saying: "Councils are having to balance the triple pressures of insufficient funding, growing demand and escalating costs, compounded now by funding cuts. There simply isn't enough money to do everything we used to."

However, you have to ask whether this is the right area to be making cuts in. This kind of help is essential for many, who want to maintain their dignity and independence. It is also far cheaper for the council to look after them in this way than to have to fund residential care. There is a real risk that by neglecting people at an early stage they could deteriorate quickly and need more expensive and intrusive care more quickly than if their needs had been met more sympathetically.

But what do you think? Let us know in the comments.
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