With all the publicity surrounding the government proposals to increase police and prisons budgets with little mention made of funding for the courts and social care; this will have a detrimental effect on the growing number of older people hitting hard times and falling through the gap in services. It is becoming a post-code lottery in some areas where it is impossible to provide care support in the community, let alone in prison. Consequently, some local authorities are unable to fully implement their care services in accordance to the legal requirements of Care Act 2014.
This is confirmed in the latest Age UK report, ‘Health and Care of Older People in England’, 2019, which identifies that care services remain in “purgatory” while demand rises. It states that the care system is in “spiralling decline” and at risk of complete collapse in the worst affected areas.
We are encountering a substantial increase (over 75%) in older people being referred to us with complex and multiple needs ending up in court for minor offences with some receiving short custodial sentences. This is why we are launching a new personalised approach to meet the care needs of older people who received short sentences whose needs are not being met under the Care Act 2014. It is currently being introduced in Devon and Dorset prisons with the aim of rolling it out to the rest of England and Wales over the next two years.
Watch this space for more updates!