Progress in shifting care for older people from hospitals to the home will become more difficult in future because of decreasing budgets and a rapidly aging population.
This is the finding of a recent report from the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee, which notes that spending on health and social care for older people will need to rise from approximately £4.5 billion in 2011/12 to nearly £8 billion by 2031 to meet increasing demand.
The committee report follows the ‘Reshaping care for older people’ report from the Auditor General for Scotland and the Accounts Commission, which noted that the current arrangements are “not sustainable”.
Statistics show that Scotland’s population is ageing, with the percentage of the population aged 65 or over projected to rise from 17% to 25% between 2010 and 2035.
Many will enjoy good health and will not need to access intensive or long-stay health and care services. However in 2012, 9% of people aged 65 or over received care at home or as a long stay resident in a care home or hospital. This percentage increased to just over a third for people aged 85 or over.
“The committee recognises the long term policy of governments to shift care from hospitals to home or the community continues to be a significant challenge,” said Public Audit Committee Convener Hugh Henry MSP. “This is made all the more difficult by rising demand from Scotland’s ageing population and budgetary pressures.”
“This challenge is one of the biggest facing Scotland today,” he added. “It means it is vital that progress is made in the reshaping care for older people programme, as it involves changing the way care is provided whilst continuing to meet current and future demands within the budget available.”
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