Responding to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger’s report on malnutrition in older people, Margaret Willcox, President of ADASS, said:
“The thought of older people going hungry because they are isolated, have limited mobility, or are depressed is appalling, and social care staff do what they do because they are keen to do anything within their power to help.
“Hunger is a serious issue for older people, but it’s often just one symptom of wider issues, which is why it is our view that social care solutions should be personalised, and focus on the individual needs of the person in question.
“Imposing a further duty on social care providers is the wrong approach. The way forward is to deliver more personalised care, and that requires more resources, not more rules. Placing more duties on already-pressured social care staff to tackle one issue, rather than providing the funding needed to address the underlying care crisis, will hinder rather than help.
“If new duties are imposed, then as a bare minimum social care providers must be given adequate funding to ensure they are effective carried out, otherwise sorting out one human tragedy will create another, as resources are pushed from pillar to post.
“However, social care is in the midst of a funding crisis, with a £2 billion funding shortfall by 2020 making it extremely challenging to provide individualised care. The Government must seize the opportunity of the forthcoming green paper on social care to deliver a long-term, sustainable funding solution, and provide emergency funding in the meantime. Only that can deliver the personalised care we need and tackle the root cause of this crisis.”