Bid to quell fears over an elderly care crisis

News story
News story

WIGAN Council chiefs have moved to allay residents’ fears a crisis of care for the elderly after the withdrawal of more funding.

Town hall bosses today vowed to maintain quality care for both the elderly and disabled despite further government cuts.

This is despite the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents English and Welsh councils, said it was “inevitable” that frail and vulnerable people would suffer unless long-term funding could be secured.

Stuart Cowley, director of adult social care and health at Wigan Council, said: “With an increased demand for services we recognise there is a real financial challenge to deliver services as they have always been delivered.

“However we are working with health partners to develop new ways of supporting people to be independent and as well as possible, to prevent ill health and to provide joined up care where it is required.

“The Better Care Fund is one way of enabling joint investments by partners to improve outcomes for people while meeting budget obligations.”

But Age UK bosses say the funding of social care for older people has always suffered from too much short-term thinking and been labelled “too difficult” to deal with.

John McArdle, chief officer at Age UK Wigan Borough, said: “As the numbers of older people in the population grow we need a reliable and longer-term solution to the almost perpetual funding crises.

“The Better Care Fund is a start of much-needed work to deliver a genuinely integrated and holistic care service, irrespective of how that is funded. For too long, older people have been the victims of inept planning, inadequate funding and short term thinking.

“That has to stop. Older people are entitled to the best care we as a society can afford. Politicians and managers have let too many older people down for too long.

“As important as more and longer term funding is, we also need a massive change to the culture of organisations and how care is organised.

“Better planning and more joined up services would have the potential to save money and ensure better outcomes.”