Suffolk bucks elderly funding trend

SUFFOLK is bucking the national trend of starving funding for elderly people in need of care.Elderly people make up around two thirds of the county council's social services department's clients and 61 per cent of the department's budget is spent on their care.

SUFFOLK is bucking the national trend of starving funding for elderly people in need of care.

Elderly people make up around two thirds of the county council's social services department's clients and 61 per cent of the department's budget is spent on their care.

But this equality between the council's budget and client is not matched nationally.

A report by The Social Policy on Ageing Information Network (SPAIN) revealed that although older people make up 62pc of social services' clients, they only see 47pc of the budget because funds are diverted to pay for other adults' services.

The report, "What Price Care in Old Age?", added that cash shortages meant crucial services for older people like cleaning, housework, respite and transport aids were being cut across the country.

However, a spokesman for Suffolk County Council said that although Suffolk's elderly population was slightly higher than normal, its care for the elderly surpassed the average.

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He said: "We now spend 61pc of the adults social care budget on older people, obviously far in excess of the national figures quoted.

"It's true that some placements for people with physical, sensory or learning disabilities cost more than placements for older people but this is because some of these people have very complex needs and challenging behaviour."

The spokesman revealed that the budget for older people was managed separately from that for other adults, ensuring that the total spending on older people was decided at the highest level and subject to decision-making by councillors.

He added: "The main reason for our relatively high spending on older people is the council's decisions in recent years to invest in these services.

"This is particularly so with regard to care in people's own homes, joint work with the NHS on caring for people after discharge from hospital and in preventing people needing to be admitted to hospital."

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