Number of elderly people receiving home care falls

Author: Daily Telegraph   |  

Figures calculated by Help the Aged show that 414,700 pensioners and disabled people in England were given support in their own houses in 2000.

But by 2007 this figure had fallen to 346,700, a drop of 70,000 despite a rise in the number of people reaching retirement age and requiring help to eat, wash or dress themselves.

The drop in numbers is being attributed to the introduction of new guidance by the Department of Health in 2003, called Fair Access to Care Services, that gave local authorities the right to impose “eligibility criteria” on pensioners who ask for home help.

Councils can now assess how severe a resident’s needs are – low, moderate, substantial or critical – before deciding whether to pay for their assistance.

An estimated three-quarters of town halls now restrict care only to those with the most severe health problems, and have withdrawn services for those who only need lower levels of care.

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