Care services failing older people

Care and health services still discriminate against older people, particularly in mental health, a report published today reveals.

Partnership working and engagement with users are also criticised for being inadequate, five years after publication of the national service framework.

The report reviews progress against the NSF and finds that none of 10 communities studied met all the milestones set in the 2001 framework, which set a series of goals to remove discrimination, make services person-centred and promote independence.

The strongest criticism in the joint study by the Commission for Social Care Inspection, Healthcare Commission and Audit Commission relates to mental health services, where progress had not been made in tackling discrimination, unlike in other areas.

The report says the “organisational division” between services for older people and those for working-age adults has resulted in an “unfair system”, with older users missing out particularly on out-of-hours advice and crisis management services.

Just four areas had formed integrated mental health teams, despite an NSF milestone of April 2004 to agree plans to set them up.

Around 80 per cent of older people interviewed felt they did not influence the planning of services, and the inspectorates concluded user involvement was neither systematic nor well co-ordinated, with particular issues for black and minority ethnic elders.

The report also finds partnership working had not developed sufficiently with few of the areas having a shared vision for services, resulting in fragmentation and confusion.

The regulators inspected services in Brent, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Greenwich, Leicester, Livepool, Medway, Portsmouth, Redcar and Cleveland, and Wiltshire.

Next month, older people’s tsar Ian Philp will produce a report on how the NSF should be implemented over the next five years.

Download the joint Commission for Social Care Inspection, Healthcare Commission and Audit Commission report Living well in later life








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