On January 10th, 2019, Human Rights Watch released a report, looking into the impact of austerity and the unjust allocation of social services on the health and dignity of older people in England. HRW notes that, “Under England’s Care Act 2014, any individual who meets financial and needs criteria is entitled to government-supported social support.” However, many older people in the UK still lack the social care they need to live dignified lives. The report interviewed individuals whose health and wellbeing suffered when they were denied critical services or had their services reduced. The report documents improper assessment of older people’s social care and lack of oversight by the national government.
HRW urges the UK government to ensure that older people have the social support they are entitled to in order to live independent and healthy lives in their community. For the UK to support their rapidly-growing older population, it is critical that local governments communicate with the recipients of social care, so that they may deliver targeted care strategies. In trying times, governments must remember their responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens, and offer support to the individuals who need it most.
In reference to the more than 100 older individuals she interviewed, Bethany Brown, author of the report, writes in an op-ed on January 11th, “ I am certain that these are not one-off incidents. And they are not just sad stories. They are stories that suggest a systemic problem with government oversight.”
SCSC is proud to partner with HRW to produce this report, and we acknowledge the contributions of Social Connectedness Fellow, Eloise O’Carroll, to the research and outreach. This report marks an important step in SCSC’s work to combat the social isolation, othering and stigma that older people face around the world.
For media coverage, read the January 10th article in the Guardian.