Older people at risk because of cost cutting councils

Older people at risk because of cost cutting councils

Elderly people are having their basic human rights hindered because many local authorities are driving down the price they are willing to pay to agencies which provide home care services.

This is according to a damning report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which states that contractors are being incentivised by councils to lower levels of care.

In some cases councils are not even paying enough to cover the real cost of providing adequate care provisions.

This has led to cases of some carers earning less than the national minimum wage after expenses such as travel costs have been accounted for.

As a result, morale amongst workers has been found to be low and turnover of staff high, meaning that many older people are being helped by an ever changing group of people.

Worse than that, though, is the fact that appointments are having to be rushed, meaning that basic tasks are being left undone.

The Commission's report comes two years after its previous study found that some care workers were putting older people to bed in the middle of the afternoon because they would be nobody available to take care of their needs later in the day.

"The way home care is commissioned by local authorities may be increasing the risks of older people suffering human rights abuses," this latest report said.

"In particular, the rates that some local authorities pay care providers do not always appear to cover the actual costs of delivering care, a significant proportion of which is workers’ wages which should include travel time.

"Poor working conditions may lead to a high turnover of staff and increase the risks to the human rights of older people."

All local authorities in the England were contacted to ask them about the improvements they have made since the 2011 report. Just 70 per cent responded within the allocated timeframe, while 20 per cent did not respond at all.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.