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Poorest And Most Vunerable The Hardest Hit : Especially Those NOT Able To Work !!! Half Of The 8.4 Million Carer Army ? - Page 5 - Carers UK Forum

Poorest And Most Vunerable The Hardest Hit : Especially Those NOT Able To Work !!! Half Of The 8.4 Million Carer Army ?

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
216 posts
Yet another nail in the coffin of an " United " Kingdom ... depends where one lives ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... cuts-study

" Territorial injustice " may rise in England due to council cuts – study.

Research shows post-industrial cities in north of England are being hit hardest by austerity.
Disproportionately harsh spending cuts to local public services in England’s poorest areas are likely to intensify perceived “territorial injustice” between deprived and wealthy parts of the country, a study has shown.

Post-industrial cities in the north of England, together with some inner-city London boroughs, have been hit by the deepest cuts to local government spending since the start of austerity in 2010, says the research by the University of Cambridge.

“The idea that austerity has hit all areas equally is nonsense,” said Mia Gray, an economic and social geographer at Cambridge, who co-authored the study. She said the distribution of the cuts across Britain should be seen as highly political.

The heavy cuts to services in deprived regions – often characterised as economically “left behind” areas – have been compounded by high levels of poverty and a lower capacity to mitigate cuts through local taxation or asset sales, the study found.

By contrast, a “swathe of middle England” in the south, particularly the economically prosperous home counties council areas around London, have seen relatively tiny cuts to spending, and are far better equipped to raise local taxes.

More than 30 council areas in England have experienced cuts in spending of over 30% between 2010 and 2017, with seven councils – Westminster, Salford, South Tyneside, Slough, Wigan, Oldham and Gateshead hit by cuts of more than 40%.

The smallest reductions have been in East Riding of Yorkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Bracknell Forest, Somerset, Wiltshire, Central Bedfordshire, and Warwickshire, all of which had single-digit percentage cuts.


English councils have seen average cuts of 24%, twice as deep as their counterparts in Scotland (12%) and Wales (11.5%). The study said devolved government had enabled those nations to find ways of mitigating the cuts.

Government plans to phase out central grants and fund local government through local business rates and council taxes would exacerbate patterns of inequality, particularly between London/the south-east and the rest of the UK, said Gray.

“We are now seeing austerity policies turn into a downward spiral of disinvestment in certain people and places. Local councils in some communities are shrunk to the most basic of services. This could affect the life chances of entire generations born in the wrong part of the country,” she said.

Gray warned that the government needed to decide whether it was prepared to see more local authorities go bust in the manner of Northamptonshire county council, which declared insolvency this year after being unable to balance its budget.

The study comes as the government prepares to publish its “fair funding” review of the formula used to share out central funding to local government. Mainly Tory-run county councils have lobbied for cash to be redistributed away from cities to rural areas where several counties have struggled financially.

However, the study shows several counties linked with financial problems have had some of the smallest cuts in recent years, including East Sussex, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Somerset. Northamptonshire’s cuts were around the English average of 24%.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the funding it gave councils was based on the relative needs of different areas. “The average spending power per dwelling for the 10% most deprived authorities is around 23% more than for the least deprived 10% in 2018-19.”

It added: “We have made £200bn available to councils up to 2020 for services, and are working closely with them to develop a funding system for the future based on the needs of different areas.”

Councillor Richard Watts, the chair of the Local Government Association’s resources board, said: “Losing a further £1.3bn of central government funding next year is going to tip many councils over the edge. Many local authorities will reach the point where they only have the funds to provide statutory responsibilities and it will be our local communities and economies who will suffer the consequences.”


Chasms ... a word that David Grayson found hard to handle ... the north / south divide is just one.

The age old economic remedy ... the Multiplier ... in this case , the direct opposite.

Sucking the very lifeblood and soul out of vast swathes of this country.

1066 ... the " Harrowing of the North " quickly followed.

2018 ... just as devastating ... the lack of investment in the north.
Loading the burden of austerity on to low-income parents and their children is morally reprehensible.


Headline from The Observer this morning.

Trouble is ... that word ... MORALLY.

Takes second place to the preservation of power and wealth for the few ... at the expense of the many ... EVERY TIME !


Many people of a different generation than myself have confirmed that since 2010 we have had the most vindictive, corrupt, vicious, ruthless government in power. Unfortunately, there are a lot of petty-minded mean-spirited people in this grey little country who still vote for them and worse, even agree with their policies. Never before have welfare claimants been so feminised and humiliated, the disabled and poor so persecuted. It is actually beyond shocking considering we're in the 21st century.
Guardian ... late afternoon web edition :

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... rvey-finds

" Local welfare " schemes in England on brink of collapse, says report.

Activists say cuts have ravaged network providing emergency help to poorest families.
The system of “local welfare” schemes set up less than five years ago to provide emergency help to England’s poorest families, often to help them cope with delays and sanctions to their benefits, is on the verge of collapse, say poverty campaigners.

A survey of more than 150 council-run schemes by Church Action on Poverty found that nearly a quarter had been shut down since 2013, while a further quarter have reduced spending by 85% or more. More are expected to close in the next few months.

The demise of local welfare would put tens of thousands of vulnerable people at increased risk of hunger, debt and destitution, the charity said.

The system was designed to help people on low incomes deal with unexpected hardship, such as a lack of money caused by benefit payment problems, or domestic crises such broken boilers, house fires and flooding.

Huge cuts to council budgets have left the system, which replaced the old social fund, struggling to survive. Provision is so uneven that thousands of people cannot access emergency help from the state, Church Action on Poverty said.

“Local authority welfare schemes are increasingly threadbare, leaving families in many areas with nowhere to turn for help,” said the bishop of Manchester, David Walker. “It cannot be right for central and local government to abdicate responsibility for people in crisis when they need our help most.”

In many areas, the most common reason for an application for crisis support is delays or sanctions to benefits, with some councils noting that the five-week minimum wait for a first universal credit payment is an emerging factor in rising demand.


Universal credit claimants facing hardship who contact Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) helplines for help are routinely directed to local welfare schemes in their areas if they do not qualify for official advance loans or hardship funds.

Church leaders and anti-poverty charities called on ministers to make local welfare provision a legal duty for top-tier councils, and to provide ringfenced funding to protect crisis services.


The 153 councils that responded to the survey collectively reduced spending on local welfare by an average of 72% between 2013-14 and 2017-18. Together they spent £46m on local welfare last year, compared with a national budget of £172m in 2013-14.

Local welfare provision replaced the discretionary social fund, which in its final year spent £240m in crisis loans and community care grants. It was devolved to councils with DWP funding in 2013 but that cash was stopped in 2015, with councils left to decide whether to keep the schemes going.

Huge budget pressures faced by councils mean even authorities that have protected local welfare in the past are proposing drastic cuts. West Sussex county council recently unveiled plans for an 80% reduction in its £800,000 crisis fund from next April.

Local welfare has been controversial as most councils refuse to give cash payments to clients in crisis, choosing instead to offer supermarket food vouchers or refer them to food banks. In one case, Isle of Wight council offered a 62-year-old homeless woman a voucher to buy a tent.

Only two English councils – Islington in north London and North Tyneside in the north-east – had higher local welfare budget cash totals year compared with 2013, by 12% and 4% respectively.

Niall Cooper, the director of Church Action on Poverty, said: “The purpose of the social fund was that people could stay afloat and hopefully ride out a crisis, rather than sinking deeper into poverty. A lifeline in times of emergency is a vital part of a compassionate society, but it has been withdrawn in many places and neglected almost everywhere.”
A government spokesperson said: “One million people have been lifted out of absolute poverty since 2010 and household incomes have never been higher. For families that need extra support, we’re spending £90bn a year on working-age benefits. Local authorities are responsible for using their funds to best meet the needs of their residents, and over the next two years we are providing them with £90.7bn to do so.”




Almost beyond belief ...

Let 'em rot ... a new pogrom launched by the Government ... " For all " ... mind ???
A headline and an article from today's Independent that sums up perfectly what's happening at street level :

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/h ... 99306.html
Disadvantaged groups trapped in poverty and excluded from society, human rights watchdog warns.

Theresa May accused of breaking pledge to tackle " Burning injustices " as continued decline in prospects for disadvantaged groups creates " Two-speed society " where many are left behind.
Britain is a divided nation as the poor are increasingly trapped in poverty and excluded from mainstream society because of their social status, the human rights watchdog has warned.

A major report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found a continued decline in prospects for disadvantaged groups has cemented a “two-speed society” in the UK which leaves many behind.

The watchdog found that in just three years “alarming backward steps” have left disabled people, ethnic minorities and children from poorer backgrounds struggling to make headway in a society where “significant barriers still remain”.

Charities accused Theresa May of breaking the promise she made in her first speech as prime minister to tackle “burning injustices” in British society.

It comes just days before Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is to set out a budget with critics waiting for spending commitments that will deliver on the prime minister’s conference promise that austerity is finally coming to an end.

In a speech on Thursday, shadow chancellor John McDonnell will say that schools, councils and the UK’s social care system are “crying out for investment” and called on the government to “stump up the cash”.

David Isaac, chair of the EHRC, said Britain was facing a “defining moment in the pursuit of equality”.

“We’ve seen some significant areas of progress, particularly in the improvement of opportunities in education and at work, as well as the fact that more people are now engaging in politics,” he said.

“However, in an already divided nation, some unacceptable gaps continue to grow. Across many areas in life, the losers struggle to make headway in a society where significant barriers still remain.

“They are the forgotten and the left behind and unless we take action, it will be at least a generation before we put things right.”

The EHRC report warns that, unless urgent action is taken, the UK’s most “forgotten” groups of people are in danger of being stuck in their current situation for “years to come”.

It said that since its last report in 2015, disabled people had been increasingly excluded from mainstream society, with the disability pay gap persisting and disabled people facing poorer health and a lack of access to suitable housing.

The study states that welfare and tax reforms implemented since 2010 were having a disproportionate impact on the poorest in society, pushing more disabled people, ethnic minorities and women into poverty and weakening the safety net provided by social security.

Child poverty has increased, with three in 10 children now living in households in poverty, rising to over half of children in Bangladeshi, Black African, Pakistani and Other ethnicity households.

The report also cites a “marked backwards move” in justice and personal security since 2015, with restrictions on legal aid having severely reduced people’s ability to secure redress when their rights are breached.

In light of the findings, campaigners accused Ms May of breaking the pledge she made in her first speech as prime minister, in which she vowed to “fight the burning injustice” in the UK that meant “if you’re born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others.”

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), said: “The prime minister entered Downing Street with a pledge to make the country work for everyone but the EHRC report finds little evidence of that happening.

“Yes we have high employment, but at the same time we also have rising child poverty. The four-year freeze on benefits and deep social security cuts have hit the budgets of low income families hard.

“The life chances of children in those families are being jeopardised yet these are the very families – the ‘just-about-managing’, most of whom work – whose interests the prime minister said would drive policy.”

Sue Bott from Disability Rights UK said: “The EHRC’s comprehensive report demonstrates what we are hearing daily; that in almost every aspect of life, the chances for disabled people are getting worse.

“It is now urgent that the government looks at the cumulative impact of their policies and takes action to restore the opportunities for disabled people to be equal citizens in today’s Britain.”

It comes after a report by the Social Metrics Commission (SMC) found that more than 14 million people were living in poverty in the UK, based on a new measure of financial hardship which considers the impact of “inescapable” costs such as childcare and disability.

The research showed that of the total figure, 7.7 million people were living in “persistent poverty”, meaning they had spent all or most of the last four years or more in poverty, while 6.9 million were living in families with a disabled person.


A government spokesperson said: “This government is committed to tackling burning injustices and building a country that works for everyone, with equal opportunities for all.

“However we are not complacent, which is why the UK has some of the strongest equalities legislation in the world and is a recognised world leader in gender equality. We have introduced ground-breaking gender pay gap regulations, the Race Disparity Audit which shines a light on how people of different ethnicities are treated across public services, the introduction of shared parental leave and £100m in funding committed between now and 2020 to strengthen support for victims.


Chasms ... even many here in CarerLand.

Half our army close to / at / below the Official Poverty Line.

Even more of our carees and less abled citizens on their own at the same level.

Low millions of chidren with no real hope.

To be written off ???

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https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... tudy-shows

Benefit cap leaves poor families with mounting debt, study shows.

Key welfare reform disproportionately affects ill or disabled people.

A key government welfare reform designed to motivate people into work is leaving families with mounting debt and pushing poor children into deeper poverty, according to analysis seen by the Observer.

Two-thirds of the households stuck in the government’s benefit cap for more than six months were found to be facing a shortfall between their monthly income and estimated costs, suggesting the policy is fuelling destitution.

The study of more than 10,000 benefit-capped households by the Policy in Practice consultancy found that for every child whose parents move back into work as a result of the cap, eight more will grow up in families whose financial circumstances have worsened following the introduction of the policy.

More than half of the households affected by the benefit cap were left stuck on it for six months or more. The average gap between rent and housing benefit for families stuck on the cap was £3,750 a year.

Senior MPs said the analysis showed people were being “pushed to the brink of destitution” by a policy that was not working. The group of households stuck under the cap also includes disproportionate numbers of people requiring help due to illness or disability.

Theresa May is still under pressure over welfare despite a £1bn package in the budget to make the universal credit system more generous. The Resolution Foundation thinktank has found that three-quarters of the £12bn in welfare cuts announced after the 2015 election remain government policy.

Frank Field, the chair of the Commons work and pensions committee, said: “As with universal credit, the driver of this reform was meant to be getting people into work, and you can escape the cap if you do. But we know that for too many, especially those with young children, work simply doesn’t pay and is out of reach.


“If getting into work that pays isn’t a genuine, realistic possibility for each person affected by the cap, and they are as a result pushed to the brink of destitution, we must ask why, and ask also whether the cap should operate at all for this group.”

Further analysis by Policy in Practice, carried out on a sample of council tenants across 11 English local authorities, showed those stuck on the benefit cap are more likely to be in debt.

Tenants on the benefit cap were two-thirds more likely to be in rent arrears than all other tenants claiming housing benefits, while 28% of all households currently affected by the cap are in receipt of a discretionary housing payment – in effect extra help handed out by councils to people in trouble paying their rent.

The benefit cap was lowered in 2016 and limits the total amount of benefits a household can receive to a maximum of £20,000 a year, or £23,000 for families in London.


Policy in Practice found that only 37% of those who escaped the cap did so due to a higher income. While it estimated that the policy had increased the likelihood of moving into work by 21%, it suggested there was a major social impact.

Deven Ghelani, the director of Policy in Practice, said: “I have always been open to this policy having a positive impact for those families moving into work. However, our analysis shows that the positive employment outcomes and savings generated do not appear to offset the financial costs, or crucially, the human and social costs associated with rising levels of economic destitution.”

Chris Goulden, the deputy director at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said work was the best route out of poverty for most people, but those with limited options because of their health or disability could be unfairly affected.

“With the high and rising cost of housing, especially in the capital, these shortfalls in income can lead to a rising tide of debt as people struggle to find ways to stay afloat that don’t end up worsening their situation,” he said. “The benefit cap is a clumsy solution to a real problem caused by high rents, low paid work and barriers to engaging in paid work among groups like disabled people.”

The Department for Work and Pensions said official statistics showed that seven in 10 households came off the cap eventually. It said help was being provided to single parents looking for appropriate work, and around 54,000 households were no longer subject to the cap.

Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, said: “The benefit cap ensures we have a fairer system – fair for the taxpayer and fair for claimants – as well as a system that incentivises work. So it’s not surprising that we now have the lowest unemployment figures since 1975.”


As winter approaches , energy costs have risen , and the Housing Allowance threshold remains frozen.

Bleak ?

Desperate is moe apt !


Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, said: “The benefit cap ensures we have a fairer system – fair for the taxpayer and fair for claimants – as well as a system that incentivises work. So it’s not surprising that we now have the lowest unemployment figures since 1975.”


... and the fate of those NOT able to work through illness / disability / caring ?
The government has yet to accept that some people, through no fault of their own, are able to work!
I have to extend that to both of our supporting organisations as well.

The Street ... half of the carer army close to / at / below the Official Poverty Line ... a carer = a caree ... therefore , around 8 MILLION on that definition.

For them , the prospects are even more dire ... how can any of them work when they are NOT able to ?

Casaulties of a social war ... 8 MILLION an acceptable level ?

Many are also in danger on the housing front ... expect to see " Social cleansing " in many cities / larger towns as the rents therein are rising.

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... ammy-34469

In essence , the creation of ghettos ... in many of the lower income regions ... with the knock on effect being the LAs are guaranteed to run out of monies in those regions.

What then ?
https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... -austerity

UN rapporteur starts UK tour to examine impact of austerity.

Philip Alston to meet MPs and families in hardship before publishing interim report.


A United Nations special investigator is launching a two-week inquiry into rising levels of poverty and hardship across the UK, saying he hopes the government is ready for proper dialogue over the human consequences of austerity cuts.

Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, is to embark on a tour of some of the UK’s poorest town and cities on Monday, visiting food banks and community groups and meeting MPs, government officials, academics and families in hardship.

Alston, who has a reputation as a fearless, plain-speaking critic, will gather evidence on the impact of universal credit, welfare changes, local government cuts, and rising living costs before publishing an interim report on his findings before he leaves the UK in mid-November.


“I think the UK is at a crossroads, partly because of Brexit, and partly because of the comments made by the prime minister and the chancellor in terms of austerity [being over],” he said. “My hope is that there is a real possibility for a dialogue about future policy direction.”

He is scheduled to visit Glasgow, Barking, Oxford, Belfast, Newham in east London, Newcastle upon Tyne and Cardiff. He will also travel to Jaywick Sands in Essex, the UK’s most deprived neighbourhood, which last week was used in an political advert for the Republican party in the US midterm elections as an example of extreme social decay.

His inquiry will assess whether government policies introduced in recent years breach international human rights standards to which the UK is a signatory, including the rights to food, housing and decent living standards. He will also try to assess the impact of Brexit on poverty.

“The United Kingdom is one of the richest countries in the world, but millions of people are still living in poverty there,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said it was “committed to upholding the rule of law and rules-based international systems”. It insisted that on an absolute measure of poverty a million fewer people and children were living in hardship compared with 2010.

Alston has received nearly 300 submissions from charities, poverty experts and individuals living on the breadline – a record for a UN poverty audit – and said they “make clear many people are really struggling to make ends meet”.

The visit comes at a time of rising political concern about the effects of years of public spending cuts. Last month Theresa May pledged to end a decade of austerity, in part a response to increasing public disquiet over the rollout of universal credit, rising homelessness and destitution, and relentless cuts to social care, council services, schools, police and prisons.

Alston said it was important to track the human rights consequences of the UK government’s economic decisions. “Policies of austerity are commonly executed only in response to requirements by the International Monetary Fund or an external source,” he said. “They haven’t been adopted by governments as a concerted and deliberate economic policy.”

Ministers will be braced for criticism from Alston, although his recommendations are not binding. His presence in the UK is likely to provoke outrage from right-wing media and politicians. Five years ago criticisms of the bedroom tax after a visit by the UN’s then housing rights envoy, Raquel Rolnik, were aggressively dismissed by ministers as a “misleading Marxist diatribe”.

Alston sparked a furious reaction from Donald Trump’s administration earlier this year when he published a withering inquiry report accusing the US president of pursuing policies that deliberately forced millions of Americans into financial ruin while lavishing vast riches on the super-wealthy.

He described policies introduced or proposed by Trump – including cuts to food stamps, social housing subsidies, and healthcare – as “a systematic attack on America’s welfare program that is undermining the social safety net for those who can’t cope on their own”.

The UK government formally accepted Alston’s request for an official visit in December 2017, but it is not yet clear which – if any – UK government minister he will meet. He is scheduled to meet Welsh and Scottish ministers in Cardiff and Edinburgh.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said Alston’s tour would reveal an affluent country with a growing child poverty crisis. “It is important to shine a light on child poverty in the UK and there is plenty of evidence to keep him busy during his stay,” she said.

However, the number of people in relative poverty, which defines people as in poverty if their household income falls below 60% of the UK median, were about the same in 2016-17 as the year before – at 10.4 million, according to the House of Commons library. Child poverty was at a 13-year low in 2010 but has subsequently increased. More than 4 million children currently live below the breadline, a number that could rise to 5.2 million by 2021, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Food banks and an increase in rough sleeping on the streets of Britain have made rising destitution more visible. Destitution is extreme poverty defined as a regular lack of food, adequate clothing and shelter. About 1.5 million people, including 350,000 children, experienced destitution in 2017, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.




Interesting ... " Human consequencies " ... casaulties of the social war under the flag known as Austerity ?

One to keep an eye on.
Ministers broke promise to review 'pointlessly cruel' system for benefit sanctions, MPs say.

No evaluation carried out despite 2013 pledge – and repeated warnings of people being pushed into poverty.


Ministers have broken a promise to review the “pointlessly cruel” system for imposing sanctions on benefit claimants, a damning report by MPs warns today.

No evaluation has been carried out despite a pledge made back in 2013, it says – and despite repeated warnings of people being pushed into poverty after being wrongly stripped of benefits.

Meanwhile, the troubled expansion of universal credit has sparked a fresh rise in the number of sanctions – including on the sick and disabled, single parents and care leavers.

Frank Field, the chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, said the government had “kept itself in the dark” about the impact of the policy.

“We have heard stories of terrible and unnecessary hardship from people who’ve been sanctioned,” the Labour MP said.

“They were left bewildered and driven to despair at becoming, often with their children, the victims of a sanctions regime that is at times so counterproductive it just seems pointlessly cruel.

“If their stories were rare it would be unacceptable, but the government has no idea how many more people out there are suffering in similar circumstances.”


A 2012 act dramatically stepped up the sanctions regime inherited from Labour, making them “longer, more severe and applicable to more people than ever before”, today’s report says.

If conditions are not met, benefits are docked for four weeks, which can mean a loss of £300 for a claimant over the age of 25 – but a sanction can last for three months, or even a year.

The report says the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) pledged the policy would be “reviewed from 2013 on an ongoing basis” to “establish its impact and the extent to which the policy objectives have been achieved”.

However, Alok Sharma, the benefits minister, was “unable to point to any specific evaluation of the more severe sanctions regime introduced in 2012”.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... ions-lives
Poverty and ill health: the ugly bedfellows blighting millions of lives.

Poorer people get sicker 10 years earlier than their better-off neighbours. Ending this disparity requires urgent action.

Deprivation is robbing people of years of good health from their 30s onwards, driving people out of work and reinforcing poverty as they head towards retirement age.

More than 14 million people in England now have more than one health condition: this detailed study of 300,000 people with multiple health conditions reveals that people living in the least deprived fifth of England have an average of two conditions when they are aged 71, while those living in the most deprived fifth reach the same point at 61.

Around 16% of people aged 65-74 in the least deprived group have four or more conditions. For the most deprived group, that figure leaps to 28%.

But living with multiple conditions is by no means restricted to older people – significant gaps in health are already apparent by the time people reach their late 30s.

As other studies have shown, deprivation and having multiple conditions is strongly associated with frailty, with symptoms such as weakness and weight loss. This is blighting the lives of many younger people as well as older people.

The foundation’s study exposes the connections between different conditions, especially physical and mental health. More than a third of people living with a mental health condition also have chronic pain; around one in four people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also have depression or anxiety.


Quite apart from illness itself, endless medical appointments are a good way to stop people holding down a job. People with multiple conditions are prescribed an average of 20 medications, necessitating repeated visits to the GP and forcing people to go through the stress and disruption of multiple outpatient appointments to different specialists on different days. There is no excuse for this in the era of online booking. The NHS is shockingly profligate with patients’ time.

People are often overwhelmed by the pressures of managing their own care. Taking the right pill at the right time becomes a daily trial and saps emotional energy, while consuming so many different types of drugs increases the risk of side-effects and drug interactions. People who feel unable to cope end up in front of the GP or in the emergency department.

This study goes beyond endlessly reciting that demand for healthcare is going up and poor people die younger, and encourages us to think about how care for the most deprived communities can be improved while reducing pressure on the NHS. It looks at how different illnesses connect up and exposes what it feels like to be coping with both the conditions and the care. Social prescribing is in vogue, but many voluntary services in deprived areas are losing local government funding support.

As always, the answer begins with looking at the person rather than the system or the illnesses, and finding ways to coordinate care between hospitals and GPs, or between different medical specialties. Care services on the Fylde Coast are among those trying to listen to the people who need their help and rethink what they do.

Caring for people’s mental as well as their physical health may now be the aim, but it is rarely achieved. It is striking in the Health Foundation study that people with cancer tended to have lower levels of depression and anxiety than those with other serious illnesses. Perhaps this indicates some success in caring for the emotional as well as the physical side of the condition, and could point the way for other services.

Overall, the message is clear. Public health services, voluntary support and NHS care need to be funded and organised so they prioritise deprived communities, with an emphasis on community-based support.

This is the best prospect for both getting a grip on growing demand and narrowing shameful disparities in life chances.


Whilst age expectancy is rising in most areas , some are left behind ... in a few , actually falling.

Another chasm ... which is getting wider.
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