After a long gestation the promised National Service Framework
for Older People is finally with us. It is a significant
development which should lead to more even-handed services without
the age discrimination which has enraged many relatives of older
people. There are many welcome aspects such as national standards
and enhanced intermediate care services.
Single assessments of older people require close working between
health and social care staff, and while no one would dispute that
they are a good thing, it is essential they are done well. There is
only a year before they are due to begin, by which time joined-up
working between the sectors must be made effective.
The framework does not make it clear what the criteria are for
the distinction between nursing and personal care, and the
government has missed an opportunity to address the questions left
by the definition contained in last summer’s response to the Royal
Commission on Long Term Care for the Elderly.
Overall, though, the framework is a serious attempt to improve
the lives of older people.