Millions of frail elderly people are at risk at going without the support they need as local authorities struggle to meet rising demand for social care, a report has warned.
Research by a charity found that more than 4.3m people aged over 75 in the UK are at risk of not being properly cared for because of where they live.
The worsening state of social care provision could affect hundreds of thousands of people in Yorkshire and Humber, where just eight per cent of local authorities said they had enough social care to meet demand.
The regional figure is way below the national average as wide variations in the availability of care are highlighted in the report.
One in five local authority areas of the UK said they had enough provision for all types of elderly care, according to the The Coram Family and Childcare Trust’s annual Older People’s Care Survey. Overall, a third of councils expected the situation to worsen in the coming year.
Megan Jarvie, head of Coram Family and Childcare, said: “High quality care for older people can help to improve their wellbeing and stay well for longer.
“But the gaps in care that we have found are likely to cause stress and hardship for older people and their families.”
Among the worst-affected areas is North Yorkshire, where social care takes up almost 45 per cent of the council’s budget.
Councillor Michael Harrison, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We face challenges right across the county to enable our residents to get the care they need, whether that be in their own home, an elderly persons home, or a nursing home. The cost of providing care in a rural area is higher, and we are finding that care is an even greater challenge than in some of the more urban centres. The knock-on impact on residents, their families, GPs or hospitals can be significant.”
The council said it was investing in training and recruitment, and was building 22 social care housing schemes, with up to ten more in the pipeline.
The report said no local authorities in Inner London or Northern Ireland had enough care to meet demand, while 44 per cent did in the East Midlands and the North East. Only one per cent of local authorities expected an improvement.
The Department of Health and Social Care said councils had been given access to up to £3.6bn in extra social care funding this year, and further plans to ease the crisis would be published in a forthcoming social care Green Paper.