Press releases

Health and social care for older people with long-term illness costs £30 billion per year

6 March 2014

  • Costs of care to rise as the number of over 65s expected to double in the next 20 years
  • Fragmented funding and delivery, insufficient staff numbers with low skills  and pay, and unsuitable housing conditions hindering quality of care
  • Better use of technology and information, integrated patient services, and new funding models needed to improve care

Caring for people aged 65 or over with one or more long term conditions costs at least £30 billion per year*, according to a report by Deloitte. The report by Deloitte’s Centre for Health Solutions argues that fragmented funding and traditional care delivery models do not suit frail older people’s increasingly complex health and social care needs. Frail older people will often require services from multiple places of care, and account for a high proportion of emergency bed days, long length hospital stays and admissions to residential care.  

Other barriers to improved care highlighted in Deloitte’s report include a lack of; training and pay for the staff that spend the most time delivering care to frail older people; limited sharing of or access to patient information; and low availability and affordability of suitable housing, homecare and residential care.

Karen Taylor, director of the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, said: “The NHS’s greatest success has become its most daunting challenge. People are living longer but increasingly with one or more ill-health conditions, while demographic change is driving up both demand and costs. This puts the current health and social care delivery model under unsustainable pressure.”

Measures to improve care for frail older people proposed in Deloitte’s report include:

  • Better information sharing to enable providers to plan and manage care more effectively and wider use of technology, such as telemedicine, to prevent or delay the need for expensive institutional care
  • Annual frailty checks and priority access, rapid assessment and diagnosis schemes for everyone over 75
  • Greater individual involvement in care through self-management support services
  • Improved living conditions by budgeting on a personal or per capita basis in order to fund home repairs, adaptations and homecare support
  • Cultural changes in both the NHS and social care to increase joint responsibility for organising services and adopting new contracting and funding models

Karen Taylor added: “Caring for an increasing number of frail older people with multiple ill health conditions is extremely complex. It requires an urgent and radical shift to focus care around the patient and deliver the right services in the right place at the right time.

“Older people as a group provide invaluable economic and social contributions to society. However, addressing the pressure that the ageing population is placing on funds and services requires health and social care commissioners, private and voluntary providers, to work together to develop new care pathways. This should include delivering more effective home care, avoiding the escalation of acute care needs and seeking improvements in each place of care. Above all, better care for frail older people needs all care staff to be willing to work differently.”

                                             End

Notes to editors
For those aged 75 or over, many of whom suffer from frailty; the cost is at least £15 billion.

About the report
The report focusses on the UK with an emphasis on England and is based on a synthesis of the available literature, data analysis, interviews and Deloitte’s experience working with local health economies attempting to redesign services.

About Deloitte
In this press release, references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

“Caring for an increasing number of frail older people with multiple ill health conditions is extremely complex. It requires an urgent and radical shift to focus care around the patient and deliver the right services in the right place at the right time"-Karen Taylor, director of the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions

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