Few councils have appointed older people’s champion

    Only one in four social services departments look set to meet
    the government deadline to appoint a champion for older people,
    Community Care can reveal.

    A straw poll of 20 UK social services departments revealed only
    five who could provide the name of an appointed “older person’s
    champion”, in each case selecting a local councillor.

    Three departments said they were in the process of appointing
    someone, and 12 said they knew nothing about the initiative,
    despite a requirement to make an appointment by 30 June.

    The national service framework for older people requires social
    services departments, health departments and NHS trusts to appoint
    a champion, to look after the interests of older people.

    Older people’s groups this week accused the Department of Health
    of failing to support the initiative properly.

    An Age Concern spokesperson said the department had not issued
    sufficient guidance on the role of older person’s champions.

    Meanwhile, the National Pensioners Convention questioned the
    idea of older person’s champions if they are not backed up with
    resources to implement the national service framework.

    Jonathan Ellis, health policy officer at Help the Aged, said:
    “It does beg the question about the commitment of an organisation
    if they haven’t appointed someone to lead on older people. Older
    person’s champions are an important part of the success of
    implementing the rest of the national service framework.”

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