Sharp cutbacks in care for the elderly
Elderly people will find life tougher in Carmarthenshire as budget cuts begin to bite. The planned reductions in county council spending between 2012-13 and 2014-15 amount to £1 for every £7.50 spent on services for the elderly in 2011-12.
Nudging one person in every four, 24%, in the county is over state pension age, and slightly over one in four, 26%, have a long-term illness serious enough to limit their activities. The numbers of pensioners in the county are set to continue rising above the current 43,500 or so as the post-war baby boomers join their ranks.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s spending plans for 2012-13 to 2014-15 show cuts of
- £912,000 in homecare provided by the private sector
- £900,000 in funding for placements in private residential care homes
- £840,000 in the budgets for the council’s residential care homes, including £540,000 to be saved after a ‘review of service configuration’
- £825,000 in the council’s own homecare services, including £625,000 for ‘externalising hours and sickness management’ of the council’s homecare staff
- £370,000 in grants, supplies and services
- £312,000 in support services for social care
- Total £4.159 million
In addition, charges for homecare will rise to bring in a further £100,000. A total of 55 jobs in homecare are scheduled to go.
The total net budget for older persons’ services was £32.143 million in 2011-12. The gross total of £45.344 million was offset by £13.202 million chiefly in charges. The bulk of the cuts are directed at the elderly although services for those with physical and sensory disabilities are included under the same heading. Even if the reductions were spread evenly over these three categories, they would still represent more than £1 in every £9 of net expenditure in 2011-12.
The cuts in services for the elderly come when there is disquiet over the incidence of poor care for old people in hospitals, care homes and their own homes across the UK.
Data from Carmarthenshire County Council’s Budget Digest for 2011/12 and Appendix B, Carmarthenshire County Council Budgets for 2012-13 to 2014-15