Dementia sufferers have forked out nearly £15bn of their own cash over the last two years while waiting for government reforms to end Britain’s burgeoning social care crisis, according to Alzheimer’s Society research.
The charity demanded extra funding for those living with dementia while the long delayed strategy to end the crisis is delivered.
Unite said the government cannot afford to ignore the social care crisis – which has been exacerbated by huge cuts to local authority budgets – “a moment longer”.
Ministers pledged in early 2017 that a green paper laying out how to tackle the crisis in social care would be published that summer, however its release has been postponed six times since then.
The Green Paper will now be published at the “earliest opportunity”, according to the latest government update.
The Alzheimer’s Society research found that since March 2017, dementia sufferers who were well enough to be at home have spent over a million unnecessary days in hospital beds – costing the NHS more than £340m.
As well as highlighting the £100,000 dementia sufferers typically spend on care, the charity launched a new photo exhibit in Parliament of those impacted by the care crisis.
The exhibit includes a woman forced to ask people in the street to come into her home to lift her husband off the floor and a woman who could not leave hospital because she still did not have a care assessment after a year of waiting.
Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said, “This shocking sum of money spent by people with dementia over the last two years trying to get access to the care and support they desperately need is utterly unacceptable.
“And the amount and quality of care they’re getting for it – those who can afford it – just isn’t good enough. The results are people with dementia and their families falling victim to this dreadfully broken system.
“The evidence of the gross inequity continues to pile up, and yet still the government does nothing. We need an immediate cash injection through a dedicated dementia fund, while the government works out a long-term solution to finally end this crisis in care.”
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, said the government’s prolonged attacks on vital public services such as social care were causing “desperate human pain”.
She said, “The government has been warned time and again that its ceaseless cuts to local authority funding have very real and painful consequences for people… it cannot ignore the social care crisis a moment longer,” said Cartmail.
“The UK is the fifth biggest economy on the planet. We can and should find the money to treat our vulnerable with dignity and fairly reward those who care for them too.”