Over 1,000 people died while waiting for social care in North Yorkshire over last four years - as Boris Johnson announces tax increase

The number of people in North Yorkshire who died over the last four years after applying for social care but before receiving any has been revealed.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 4:04 pm
People are dying after requesting social care before they have received any. (Adobe Stock)

Analysis from our sister title NationalWorld of NHS digital data has found that more than 100,000 people in England have died while waiting for social care over the last four years.

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In 2019-20 alone, 480 people died in the county while waiting, more than one per day, whilst across Yorkshire and the Humber that number was 2,800.

The vast majority of those who died waiting for care in North Yorkshire last year were aged 65 or over, 430 of the 480 people.

The data analysed only counts new clients, so none of these people were already in support of care.

Social care support includes end of life care – which was provided to 7,310 applicants in the UK last year – meaning those recorded as deceased prior to care provision did not receive this, unless it was arranged privately with no involvement from the council.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) 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.

This news follows a report by NationalWorld revealed 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.

On Tuesday the Government announced an increase to National Insurance contributions of 1.25% to fund a 'health and social care levy'.

The majority of new funds will initially go to the NHS to help it catch up in the wake of the pandemic with around £5.3 billion of a total of £36 billion raised between 2022-23 and 2024-25 intended to go to social care.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Government was “putting a sticking plaster on gaping wounds”.

Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group and owner of Saint Cecilia's Care Group in Scarborough, said the amount promised to social care “isn’t going to touch the crisis in the sector and will certainly not address the 120,000 vacancies in staffing, which is sending the sector into meltdown on a daily basis as care providers struggle to cover shifts”.

He added: “It will not fund the proper recruitment and training of the thousands of staff we need, nor will it allow the sector to properly reward those staff who have played such a vital, life-saving role during Covid-19.”

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 2016-17, the first year the data was published, only 6,580 people were recorded as deceased after applying for care. That jumped to 32,115 the following year and has stayed above 30,000 each year since.

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.