CONCERNS have been raised over the future of care for pensioners, amid fears of more Government budget cuts.
Alan Patchett, director of Age UK Sunderland, is writing to Sunderland City Council chiefs urging them not to cut the budget when it comes to caring for the city’s elderly population.
He said: “It’s a really difficult situation because I think every council in the country is struggling for money to provide health and social care services for elderly people.
“Sunderland City Council is one of a few that don’t just provide health and care in the most serious cases.
“They provide it across the board so they really are trying very hard to help older people.
“The focus is on financial difficulties and we would urge them not to cut care for social services for older people as they are the most vulnerable people in society.”
The call comes as the Government and Labour Party are being urged to overhaul England’s “failing” care system, which industry experts claim is leaving 800,000 elderly people “lonely, isolated and at risk”.
Budget cuts and a population that is living longer are being blamed for the cut in care for the elderly.
Mr Patchett said: “Until the Government actually grasps the nettle and starts to do something about this, things are not going to improve and it will become harder and harder for local authorities to actually provide the help needed.
“Sunderland City Council is committed to providing care across the board and we applaud them for that, but it still faces financial cuts.
“I will be writing a letter to the leader of the council urging his not to cut this particular budget.”
A White Paper into care for the elderly is due to be published in April.
Care services minister Paul Burstow said the Government is looking into the issue.
He added: “We have put an extra £7.2billion for social care over the course of this Parliament.”
A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron added: “We are planning to publish a White Paper in the spring, setting out our plans.
“We recognise that there is a need in this country to reform social care, and ensuring the dignity and the independence of older people and disabled people in this country are a priority for the Government.”