A CHARITY is warning about the future care needs of nearly 13,000 older people in Bury who cannot carry out day-to-day activities as the government is set to introduce sweeping reforms.
Age UK Bury says that, under the new Care Act, the criteria determining who is eligible for care is “vague”.
The charity is urging people to contribute to a public consultation the government is running, before the Act is set to come into force in April next year.
Statistics show there are currently 12,887 people in Bury over the age of 65 who are unable to complete standard tasks such as getting dressed or washing themselves — a figure which is set to rise to nearly 19,000 by 2030.
Under current law, there are four levels of criteria in eligibility for care: critical, substantial, moderate and low.
Currently in Bury those whose needs are described as critical and substantial are the only people who receive care, with most local authorities across the country also in the same situation.
Under the new proposals, these bandings will be removed, and people will either be eligible for care or not eligible.
The criteria is now based on a person’s wellbeing and outcomes of care, as opposed to just their needs, and on the National Eligibility Criteria which all councils must follow.
People will be eligible for care if they have a physical or mental disability and are therefore unable to carry out “basic activities”, maintain personal relationships, gain work or care for a child.
Types of care include tasks such as helping people out of bed or getting dressed, as well as 24-hour care in a residential care home.
The charity held a Care in Crisis consultation event at attended by older people, as well as Bury North MP David Nuttall and councillors Rishi Shori and Sandra Walmsley.
Andy Hazeldine, chief officer at Age UK Bury, said: “Those who came to our event highlighted concerns about the vagueness of the criteria and how in practice they will be interpreted by local authorities.
“The Care Act 2014 is the biggest reform of social care since 1948 and we want to ensure it improves the way older people are supported.
“We see older people not receiving the care they need and as a consequence, they are ending up in accident and emergency units and hospital wards.
“This simply shifts older people around the system at great financial cost, creating distress and disruption.
“This makes absolutely no moral or economic sense and that is why we want to ensure the voices of older people, and their carers, are heard loud and clear.”
People can contribute to the consultation until August 15 by visiting careandsupportregs.dh.gov.uk