Stop rationing home care services, Unison tells councils

 Councils and the government should sack home care contractors providing poor standards of care and give more money to home care services, Unison has said.

The union claims a failure to provide homecare services is leaving hundreds of thousands of older people struggling to maintain an independent lifestyle and forcing many into residential or NHS care.

The number of people receiving home care services in England has fallen by more than a third in the past 15 years, and the gap between need and delivery is set to grow, according to figures cited by Unison. Around two thirds of councils now only fund people with critical or highly dependent needs.

The union, which is launching a campaign on improving home care at its annual conference this week, is urging the government and councils to adopt a five-point plan including improving training and pay levels across the public, private and voluntary sector home care workforce.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: “Skimping on home care is a false economy that is costing the NHS billions. The government estimates that reducing the rate of hospital or care home admissions among older people by just 1% a year would save the country £3.8 billion – in contrast the gross expenditure on home care in England is currently £2.5 billion.

“Good home care allows people to live at home in dignity as well as providing an early warning system that stops problems escalating.”

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