Age Scotland have published research revealing that thousands of older people are missing out on free personal care payments.
ALLIANCE members Age Scotland have published research revealing that thousands of older people are missing out on free personal care payments because of delays in assessing and arranging care.
As a result of data supplied by councils to the charity through Freedom of Information requests, the charity has found around four thousand older people are waiting longer than six weeks for a financial assessment. Some were waiting several months, and in one case someone waited almost two years for care to be arranged following their assessment.
The charity, which is highlighting pressures on health and social care in its manifesto for the local authority elections, also released figures which show that most Scots don’t believe we invest enough in health and social care, or that public services will be able to provide their care needs in the future. Polling conducted for the charity by YouGov found that 73 percent of people do not believe society values or invests enough in social care. It also found that only 17 percent believed that public services will be able to look after their care needs when they are older.
From the 25 responses received from the 32 Scottish local authorities, Age Scotland found that:
- Older people often wait several months for a care assessment. FOI responses revealed that most councils conduct assessments within an average of 2 and a half weeks, but the average worst case scenario was 5 months and 2 weeks – and in one instance one client waited over 18 months
- After assessment, services should be arranged and in place within six weeks, according to national eligibility criteria. But three-quarters of councils who responded had one or more people who waited more than six-weeks, and on average 5 per cent of older people with care needs were waiting longer than they should equating to around 3,940 older people in Scotland
- Most councils don’t record the reasons why delays occur. Many cite instances where delays are caused by the person being admitted to hospital or waiting for a place in their chosen care home. But staff shortages, financial constraints and delays in adapting people’s homes have also been cited.