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Tens of thousands of elderly people have died without getting the care they need, charity says | UK News

Tens of thousands of elderly people have died without getting the care they need, according to a charity which is calling for more social care resources.

Age UK cited NHS Digital figures for England which show there were 28,890 support requests for people aged 65 and over in 2021/22 where the person died without any of those services being provided.

The charity said that equates to more than 500 deaths a week – more than 70 a day.

Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: “There isn’t enough social care to go round and so some older people are waiting endlessly for help they badly need.

“It is heartbreaking that on the latest figures, more than 500 older people a week are going to their graves without ever receiving the care and support to which they were entitled.

“Nor can the blame for this parlous situation be placed on the pandemic, for while it certainly didn’t help, social care services were struggling to secure enough staff and funding in the years preceding it.

“Since then, all the evidence is that the position has not got any better and, on most measures, has continued to get worse.”

Ms Abrahams said long waits for social care cause “huge distress to older people” and place “intolerable pressure on their families”.

Read more:
Weak link of social care is taking UK’s health sector to breaking point
Care home capacity in UK shrinks for first time in three years

The charity has written to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt saying: “When you were chair of the health and social care committee, you expressed deep regret at being unable to fix the problems faced by social care during your time as secretary of state.

“Now, as chancellor, the Spring Budget is your opportunity to help the millions of older people, often unheard and feeling ignored, who are waiting for good, reliable care and support to live with dignity.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Everyone should have access to good quality social care when they need it, and our thoughts are with all those who have lost elderly relatives and loved ones.

“We are providing up to £7.5m in funding available over the next two years to support adult social care.

“This will put the adult social care system on a stronger financial footing and help local authorities address waiting lists, low fee rates, and workforce pressures in the sector.

“We are also tackling workforce pressures by promoting careers in adult social care through our annual domestic recruitment campaign and by investing £15m to increase international recruitment of care workers.”

Avoid the elderly if you have a cold or cough, Britons told | UK News

People with coughs and colds should avoid seeing elderly relatives to protect them from a surge in winter viruses, health officials have advised.

The message from experts is: if you feel unwell, stay at home.

The guidance was issued as Britons prepare for their least restricted Christmas since COVID curbs and subsequent guidance forced some families to stay apart.

The NHS has come under intense pressure in recent weeks, with the number of people in hospital rising by two-thirds in a week, NHS England data showed.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has urged anyone with symptoms to stay at home if they feel unwell and advised them to wear a mask in enclosed spaces, such as on public transport or supermarkets.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation and countermeasures at UKHSA, said: “If you are unwell this winter, please try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, particularly elderly or vulnerable people – this will help stop infection from spreading.”

A “near record” demand for NHS 111 services, thought to be partly driven by parents’ concern about Strep A, has contributed to the pressures heaped on healthcare workers.

The data revealed that an average of 1,939 people with flu were in hospital each day last week, up 67% on the 1,162 the previous week.

By comparison, the daily average at the end of November was 482.

Hospital chiefs said the difficulties dealing with the resurgence of viruses had been “aggravated” by strikes by nurses and paramedics, with healthcare workers announcing another two days of walkouts in January yesterday.

Read more:
Strikes every day before Christmas – which sectors are affected and why
Giving in to nurses on pay would ‘stoke’ inflation

Number of flu patients in hospitals in England soars

In the week before ambulance workers went on strike, ambulance handover delays hit a new high, as one in four patients were waiting more than an hour to be handed to A&E teams.

NHS trusts have a target of 100% of patients being handed over within 60 minutes, and 95% in the first 30 minutes.

Calls to NHS 111 last week were up almost 60% from the equivalent week in 2021, and increased to 721,301 last week from 706,129 the week before.

The rise in demand is understood to be partly due to parents worried about symptoms of Strep A.

Cases of scarlet fever, an infection linked to Strep A, are more than twice as high as previously thought, the UKHSA said on Tuesday.

Police investigating killing of elderly man on mobility scooter release picture of man running from scene with knife | UK News

Police investigating the killing of 87-year-old Thomas O’Halloran who was stabbed to death have released pictures of a man seen running from the scene armed with a knife.

Detectives have issued images of a man they are keen to identify as a matter of urgency following the killing of Mr O’Halloran, who had been riding a mobility scooter.

“He was seen fleeing the scene armed with a knife,” the Metropolitan Police said.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who is leading the investigation, said: “He is clearly a dangerous individual and people are advised not to approach him, but to call us immediately on 999 if they know him or have any information regarding his whereabouts.”