In their de-cluttering efforts the Tidy Bears rediscovered a House of Lords Select Committee report I was given in March 2013, entitled ” Ready for Ageing ? ” I can’t imagine why I didn’t write about it at the time, maybe I didn’t expect anything to come of it. Commissioning reports and then ignoring their recommendations is a fairly standard politicians’ way of avoiding making difficult decisions.
So four years on, let’s see what has happened to the report’s ten recommendations :- (recommendations are in bold type, my commentary in italics )
- End the cliff-edge of retirement, by enabling more people to work part-time. Certainly more older people are having to work part-time, but this may be out of necessity rather than choice.
- Tackle the uncertainty of defined contribution pensions. The only certainty about these pensions is that they still offer poor value for your money.
- Improve housing equity release options by reducing excessive charges and risks. This is a critically important issue for older people trying to release resources in later life, but sadly the lenders continue to exploit their monopoly position in an uncompetitive market and take advantage of vulnerable people. Government intervention is required, but probably will not happen ☹️
- Transform the NHS and Social Services to meet rising demand. Since 2013 the demands have certainly increased and the response has been extended hospital waiting times and cut backs on Social Services. ☹️ But there has been no sign of any better co-ordination between the NHS and Social Services.
- Develop a 24 hour / 7 day a week service. This is one area where the Government has tried to make changes. It resulted in protracted industrial action by junior doctors. It is not clear if any benefits have emerged as a result. ☹️ But it did end with a lot of ill-feeling and low morale.
- Jointly fund the NHS and Social Services. This has been talked about for years, but neither the NHS nor Social Services wants to give up part of their empire or their budget to the other. So nothing changes and older people are pushed from pillar to post.
- Government to set out a framework for radically transformed health care for the ageing population before 2015. There are no Nye Bevan’s amongst our current politicians. Too many vested interests all pull in different directions and patients’ interests are often the last thing on their agenda. Getting re-elected is always the politicians’ priority. Professional self-interest is always an undercurrent for the clinicians. More money for the NHS is the only area they all agree upon.
- Urgently plan to better address the housing needs of the older population. Since this recommendation was made the output of new retirement housing has almost slowed to a standstill. Planning delays continue to be a problem and proposed changes to housing benefit question the financial viability of new schemes.
- Publish a White Paper analysing the vision for public services in an ageing population. There was a White Paper earlier this year, but vision didn’t come into it. Rather it was a rehash of old ideas which barely scratch the surface of the scale of the issues. ( see my blog “Housing Delusion” by clicking on February 19, 2017 in the Archive.)
- After the 2015 General Election establish two more Commissions. THE ULTIMATE POLITICAL ANSWER TO EVERY DIFFICULT PROBLEM. NO REAL ANSWER JUST ANOTHER REPORT. OR IN THIS CASE TWO REPORTS.
POSTSCRIPT AFTER FOUR YEARS:-
THIS WAS A VERY GOOD REPORT WHICH IN MY VIEW WAS A SOUND EVALUATION OF THE PROBLEM AND SOME VERY CLEAR INSIGHTS INTO HOW THE ISSUES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED.