As America heads down a similar path of a government take over of its healthcare system, Britain’s state-run healthcare service has been slowly cutting costs resulting in 40 percent of the nation’s elderly patients losing services. The changes have come in an effort to save money for the government.
“More than 450,000 frail elderly and disabled people,” The Telegraph’s John Bingham reported on December 15, “who would until recently have received state-funded care have been shut of the system because of pressure to cut numbers, a stark new report concludes.”
A new academic study of recent moves by the government discovered that 40 percent of the nation’s elderly have been left to fend for themselves. Services that a decade ago would have helped elderly patients with basic tasks such as eating healthy meals, washing and dressing themselves have been cut to save money.
The study found that funding for social services have been cut to the bone causing many patients to turn to the national healthcare system, NHS, when their health deteriorates ultimately costing taxpayers even more for their care, Bingham says.
The Telegraph reports that guidelines for social workers to determine whether or not elderly patients qualify for help have been tightened so severely that many no longer qualify for help.
The paper said that the numbers of elderly Britons receiving help from state social services “dropped from almost 1.3 million five years ago to 928,000 now.”
Richard Hawkes, chairman of the Care and Support Alliance which commissioned the study, worried that new government reforms of the social services system will further “erode” services to the nation’s elderly.
“But it is becoming clear,” Hawkes said, “that a huge number of older and disabled people and their families that need support will not see any of the benefits of the new system–because eligibility will be set too high.”