Between 275 and 279 people in Northamptonshire died while waiting for social care in last three years

Many left to die 'without dignity', says think tank, as Boris Johnson announces new social care tax

Friday, 10th September 2021, 6:58 am

Between 275 and 279 people in Northamptonshire died while waiting for social care over the last three years, analysis of NHS data has revealed.

The figure, found by sister site NationalWorld, is made up of those who applied for adult social services from their local council between April 2017 and March 2020 died before they received any support.

In 2019-20 alone, 80 people died while waiting. The overall figure is a range because fewer than five people waiting aged between 18 to 64 died in 2017-18.

Between 275 and 279 people in Northamptonshire have died while waiting for social care over the last three years, analysis of NHS data has revealed.

Social care support includes end of life care, meaning those recorded as deceased prior to care provision did not receive this, unless it was arranged privately with no involvement from the council.

Nationally, 107,310 people died while waiting for social care between April 2016 and March 2020 - about one in every 56 applicants.

The Institute for Public Policy Research said many people have been left to die 'without dignity' because of a lack of funding for services to provide end of life support at home.

It follows a report by NationalWorld revealing fewer than half of those who apply will get genuine social care, with more than a quarter turned away with no support provided at all.

Chris Thomas, senior research fellow for IPPR, said: "It’s very concerning that 100,000 people have died in the period between applying for social care and receiving it.

“The evidence is clear that people overwhelmingly prefer to receive end of life care in their homes and communities, but that is only possible if funding is there for the right services.

“Sadly, this hasn’t been the case - meaning many people dying deaths without dignity.

"IPPR analysis shows the Covid-19 pandemic has made this worse, by increasing the number of people relying on overstretched home, community and social care services for their end of life care."

In 2017-18, between 90 and 94 people were recorded as deceased after applying for care in Northamptonshire, rising to 105 the following year.

In 2016-17, the first year the data was published, no deaths were recorded in the county.

The council with the highest number of deaths last year was Gloucestershire, where 2,225 people died. That was 12 per cent of the 18,555 new clients who asked for support during the year.

That was followed by Norfolk (1,680), Staffordshire (1,595), Derbyshire (1,445) and Essex (1,430). The figures are likely an underestimate.

Reporting the deaths was only made mandatory in 2017-18, and could be recorded under an umbrella group of ‘no services provided’ in 2016-17, which may be behind the sudden increase.

The Department of Health and Social Care did not address the figures, directing instead to a press release on the prime minister’s new plan for social care announced on Tuesday (September 7).

On Tuesday the Government announced an increase to National Insurance contributions of 1.25 percentage points.