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Borough’s elderly not getting the help they need due to ‘care lottery’

PUBLISHED: 13:49 14 November 2012

Elderly people are in a social care “lottery” which leaves those in Redbridge at a disadvantage compared with other London boroughs, it is claimed.

For those over the age of 65, the deal you get depends on where you live as each council sets it own care criteria.

John Coombes, chairman of the Redbridge Pensioners’ Forum, said: “I am horrified about the social care lottery that exists and the criteria they use in the borough is one of the strictest in London.

“You only get help if you are of the highest priority, which means a lot of residents are left in trouble.”

Redbridge, which has 33,500 residents over the age of 65, spent an average of £850 per person on social care in 2010/11.

Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington are London’s three highest-spending boroughs, with an outlay of more than £2,000 per person.

Mr Coombes said: “The elderly are not able to get the help they need, while boroughs such as Barking and Dagenham are much more willing to help.

“I think money from the government should be ring-fenced. If other boroughs can spend more, why can’t Redbridge?”

Until five years ago, older people with substantial needs in Redbridge would have qualified for help. But in 2007 the council made the criteria stricter.

The council has set aside £28million for social care for older people in 2012/2013 – a reduction of £164,000 compared with 2011/12.

A person with savings of £14,250 or more will have to contribute towards their care, while those with savings in excess of £23,250 will have to pay the full cost.

A council spokesman said: “We ensure that the service providers who we commission provide good quality of care, meet the standards set by the national regulator and take action where there are any problems identified.”

The council added that they regularly seek bids from new providers, review the care of the individuals yearly to make sure that services meet a person’s needs.


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