CAMPAIGNS: Charities PR - Elderly care in spotlight at key time

As the population ages, the issue of how senior citizens are treated will gain in profile. Pressure groups feel the Government is failing to provide enough money for social care.

A lack of funds is forcing the elderly to spend longer in hospital and leading to the closure of residential care homes, according to the Social Policy Ageing and Information Network (SPAIN).

Objectives

To highlight the 'crisis in care' just as the Treasury was determining its spending plans for the next three years.

SPAIN hoped that putting the issue on policy-makers' radar would bolster the case for more funding.

Strategy and Plan

Help the Aged, Age Concern England, the Alzheimer's Society and the Centre for Policy on Ageing sent a report to ministers and key civil servants in December. A summary went to the Health Select Committee Inquiry on Hospital Discharge.

Help the Aged briefed Today presenter John Humphrys, who trailed its findings in his Sunday Times column on 9 December.

The main launch was scheduled for January, when it was believed the Treasury's budget deliberations would peak.

With 21 other organisations, Help the Aged put together a dossier detailing the rate of care home closures, delays to hospital discharge (700,000 each year) and reductions in home care.

Measurement and Evaluation

The dossier was given to BBC social affairs editor Niall Dickson as an exclusive. On 31 January, Today covered the report and interviewed health minister Jaqui Smith.

There was coverage on BBC Breakfast, Radio 3 and Radio 5. The story was picked up by PA, The Guardian, The Times, The Independent and Community Care magazine.

Results

The Treasury has since requested a meeting with SPAIN and talks have been held with Jaqui Smith. The Health Select Committee has asked the group to give evidence and the Scottish Parliament wants to see the report.

Help the Aged hopes the arrival of a compelling report at this key time will lead to an increase in funding. Gordon Brown unveils the results of the comprehensive spending review later this year.

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