Council chief wants dedicated minister.

Older people should be given a national voice through their own
government minister, a conference was told last week.

The call came at a conference on delivering better services for
older people, organised with Community Care. Delegates were told
that there had been much progress on improving services for this
group at local level, but there needed to be a clearer lead

Local councils were improving services and joint working was taking
off, said Local Government Association director of education and
social policy John Ransford.

“I think local authorities are responding much more to what older
people are telling them they want,” he said. “Going round the
country, I really believe we are getting there on some of this.”

But he said this was not reflected at government level. “There is
no clear steer from government and there is no minister for older
people in central government.”

National director for older people Ian Philp said there had been
solid progress on improving the health of older people in recent
years, but there were serious financial pressures on the NHS and

He called for “a degree of tolerance at a time of change and
turbulence” for organisations trying to improve services.

The conference was also told that joint inspections of older
people’s services by the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the
Healthcare Commission and the Audit Commission were soon to be
piloted to reduce the bureaucratic burden on organisations.

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