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Britain's social care system leaves older people unable to live ‘independent, dignified lives,’ Human Rights Watch warns

OLDER people in England are at risk of not getting adequate assistance to live “independent, dignified lives” due to uneven benefits assessments, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned.

The government risks failing to secure older people’s rights to health and to live in the community, the report by the global campaign group revealed.

Of the 104 people they interviewed across 12 regions in England, some said assessors appeared not to understand their disabilities and support needs, HRW said.

In other cases, before beginning an assessment, assessors announced that services would be cut regardless of an individual’s actual need, and in some cases services were denied or cut significantly, affecting older people’s health and wellbeing.

Since 2010, there has been a 140 per cent increase in social care complaints, local government and social care ombudsmen Michael King revealed in November.

HRW has called on the government to ensure that older people receive the support they need and are entitled to by regularly monitoring social care assessments to ensure accuracy and fairness.

Authorities should also ensure that people continue to receive services during complaints and appeals processes, they said.

National Pensioners Convention (NPC) general secretary Jan Shortt said the social care system was “broken.”

She told the Star: “At the heart of the problem is the £6 billion worth of eye-watering cuts to services that have been made over the last few years — stripping thousands of the support they need and the dignity they deserve.

“We have to move towards a national care service that is funded through general taxation, publicly provided and free for all those that need it.”

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