Fears raised for Sussex’s elderly care services

A WARNING has been issued over the ‘perfect storm’ brewing for the care of elderly people in Sussex.

Dr James Walsh, a retired GP and vice-chairman of West Sussex County Council’s health and adult care select committee, has raised fears over the services on offer for the county’s aging population.

He claims a move two years ago by the county council to exclude people with ‘moderate needs’ from receiving social care, combined with last week’s news from the Royal Voluntary Service, which said it was axing its Meals and Wheels contract, was leading to a worrying situation.

He said: “Early assistance can often prevent problems becoming worse, and so it is inevitable that more of the formerly moderately needy, have now accelerated into the substantial or critical needs category. More have been admitted to hospitals, and are taking longer to discharge back to their homes, or increasingly more difficult, to care homes.”

The county council said this was an issue faced by the entire region, not just West Sussex, and that the increasing aging population and health factors associated with them, remained a ‘huge challenge’.

A spokeswoman said eligibility changes meant the council could invest in more preventative services for those with low and moderate needs, adding there was ‘absolutely no evidence this change has led to more people going into care homes or hospital’. She said the council was ‘committed to ensuring good-quality, safe care for residents’.