COLUMN: Care faces funding crisis

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Last time I highlighted Derbyshire’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) entitled ‘Joined Up Care’. 
The main aim of the plan is to introduce new models of care that will reduce demand for care by focusing on prevention, early intervention, avoiding admissions to hospitals and care homes, and support for people to remain independent in their own homes.

The quality and availability of social care will be crucial to the success of these new models of working, yet social care services are facing a similar funding crisis as the NHS.

Local authority funded community-based support is a lifeline for many older people – particularly in an ageing population. However, the number of people aged over 65 who access publicly-funded social care has fallen by at least 26 per cent, according to figures published by the Kings’ Fund.

To be eligible for support in Derbyshire, a person needs to prove they are unable to perform certain tasks that have an impact on their daily lives, independence and well-being, going to the toilet, getting dressed, eating and drinking.

In recent years Derbyshire, like all other areas, has had to tighten the criteria for social care support and only those with higher levels of need now receive the service.

This means that the burden of care is falling on families and carers who do a fantastic job. However, it is leaving increasing numbers of older people who have difficulty with the basic activities of daily life without any professional support.

Reductions in community social care also has a negative impact on the NHS due to the delayed discharge of patients from hospital due to problems arranging social care for their return home.

Healthwatch Derbyshire has been campaigning to ensure that people in Derbyshire have a voice in the development of the ‘Joined Up Care’ plan. We are particularly keen to hear from older people, their families and carers about their experiences of social care and the impact of the criteria changes.

You can contact Healthwatch Derbyshire by post: Healthwatch Derbyshire, Suite 14, Riverside Business Centre, Foundry Lane, Milford, Belper,

Derbyshire DE56 0RN, email enquiries@healthwatchderbyshire.co.uk, call 01773 880786 or text 07943505255.