Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The cost of long term care

This striking graph from the latest EU Ageing Report*1 highlights how the UK continues to spend a relatively small proportion of GDP on long term care (LTC).

It also highlights that, far from a demographic crisis in the long term costs of care, LTC costs as a percentage of GDP will increase in the UK by just 0.4% between 2015 and 2060.

What the data does not take account of however, is whether Government spending on care is adequate today, or indeed, whether it will be tomorrow.

We heard today from Age UK of a cost of almost £700m to the health service as a result of 2.5 million days of delayed discharge over the past five years *2.

So whilst there is some good news for the Treasury from the EU analysis, there is likely to be increasing pressure on Government to improve the quality of care as well as invest in prevention. Better integration of services could help hold back costs as can innovation in health and care.

Over the next five years we will start to see the return on recent financial and policy investment in integration. But the growing prevalence of serious illness amongst those aged over 80 and a growing ageing population will put pressures on budgets.*3

And as Age UK have highlighted today, squeezing social care is a false economy if it simply pushes up healthcare costs.

 David Sinclair

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