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Social care demographics and pressure points

Paper | March 2012

This short discussion paper summarises a lecture given by Professor Keith Moultrie of IPC on the social care of older people in England. Representing the personal opinions of Professor Moultrie, but drawing on work carried out by IPC over the last 25 years, it marshals demographic evidence to demonstrate the likely future impact of an ageing population on social care and related health and welfare services, the extent and the nature of additional demand, and the prospects of meeting it based on policy responses to date.

Above all, the paper is a call for a better informed, more nuanced response to the issue than the ‘kneejerk’ panic of some press and political reactions. The fact that huge investment in health has not necessarily resulted in improvements in outcomes for older people, Professor Moultrie attributes to a system that is imperfectly configured – in particular, to a continuing imbalance between preventative and acute interventions – and he advocates instead a ‘whole system perspective’.

Preventative interventions have too often been treated as add-ons to the interventions they were supposed to replace, and hence seen as adding to costs rather than diminishing them. Given continuing economic constraints, he concludes, if older people are to be helped to recover effectively from illness and live well, and longer, in their community, these interventions must cease to be pilots or experiments and become ‘the mainstream’.

For further information please contact Keith Moultrie at IPC


Tel: 01225 484088