The scale of cuts to social care budgets has been brought into sharp focus with the publication of figures by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. The data shows that the number of people getting social care support in England has fallen in a quarter since 2008-09.
This dramatic fall in support comes against a backdrop of a rapidly ageing population so, despite more and more people needing care each year, the numbers receiving it are falling.
The figures show that four years ago, 1.78m elderly and younger people with disabilities were in receipt of care and this dropped to 1.32m in 2012-13. The figures cover in-home care as well as care in the community and care and nursing homes.
Worryingly for our older population, the biggest fall has been seen among the over 65s.
Commenting on these latest figures, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care, Trevor Brocklebank said, "These figures are of real concern and need to be addressed. We are already seeing an increase in A&E admissions as a result plus there are reports of elderly people stuck in hospital, blocking a bed because care is not in place.
"It has also been shown that with at-home care hospital re-admissions are reduced. What we need is a plan of integration between health and social care.
"By providing quality social care we can keep more elderly people at home living an independent life and this has got to be a more cost effective option."