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Three elderly people die every hour waiting for care

Millions of calls for care and support go unanswered, says charity

At least 74,000 older people in England have died, or will die, waiting for care between the 2017 and 2019 general elections, a charity has claimed.

The research by Age UK suggests a total of 81 older people are dying every day, equating to about three an hour.

In the 18 months between the last election and the forthcoming one, 1.7 million unanswered calls for help for care and support will have been made by older people. This is the equivalent of 2,000 futile appeals a day, or 78 an hour, the Guardian reports.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s director, said this is being driven by three main reasons: older people died or will die before services were provided, a decision that they did not meet the eligibility criteria as interpreted by their local authority, or their local authority signposted them to some other kind of help than a care service.

Age UK is calling on whichever political party forms the next government to invest £8bn in the system over the next two years to prevent further decline.

“Unfortunately, we have effectively wasted the last 18 months, waiting for the social care green paper that never was,” Abrahams said. “No one knows how many of these older people, if any, might have lived longer had they received care in time, but at the very least their final days would probably have been more comfortable and their families and friends would have felt better supported.”

Julie Ogley, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, added that too many people continue to struggle to get the care and support they need.

“Successive governments have promised, but ultimately failed to deliver, the change we all need,” she argued. “The millions of us who rely on adult social care cannot afford another missed opportunity. That is why we are calling on each of the parties to set out their positive plans for the future of social care.”