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Lords committee says UK not prepared for ageing

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A House of Lords committee has found the UK is not prepared to meet the demands of its growing population of older people.

The committee on public service and demographic change said the government was seriously underprepared for the varied demands that an ageing population will place on a range of core services and provisions.

Today, 10 million people in the UK are over 65 years old and three million people are aged over 80.

By 2030 there are expected to be double the number of those aged 65-plus, and a 100% increase in those aged over 85, according to the report.

The committee says living longer is “one of the greatest gifts our society has ever experienced” but warned it also poses major challenges for government and individuals, changes especially acute for healthcare, social care, employment and pension systems.

Government, together with all political parties, must address the ageing issue, the committee said, or face a series of crises.

The committee said an ageing society will greatly increase the number of people with long-term health conditions, forcing health and social care services to develop completely different support models to help people in their own homes and in the community, avoiding unnecessary trips to the hospital.

Lords were stark in their assessment of current health and social care models, saying they fail older people and are inappropriate for the many older people who will have chronic health conditions in future.

Lord Filkin, chairman of the committee, said: “Health and social care need to be radically reformed; both are failing older people now.

“A big shift in services is essential so that the many more older people with long-term conditions can be well cared for and supported in their own homes and in the community and not needlessly end up in hospital. All health services and social care must be integrated to help achieve this.”

 

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