The charity, Age UK, has estimated that between last general election and the next, 74,000 older people in England have died or will die waiting for care.

The charity's research has found that at least 74,000 older people in England have died, or will die, waiting for care between the 2017 and 2019 general elections. Age UK said a total of 81 older people are dying every day, equating to about three an hour.

Furthermore, in the 18 months between the last election and the forthcoming one, 1,725,000 unanswered calls for help for care and support will have been made by older people. This, said the charity, was the equivalent of 2000 futile appeals a day, or 78 an hour.

Age UK Director Caroline Abrahams the reasons for the huge number of requests for help that did not lead to any support being given. She said: "Because the older people died or will die before services were provided, because of a decision that they did not meet the eligibility criteria as interpreted by their local authority, or because their local authority signposted them to some other kind of help than a care service.”

Age UK is calling on whichever political party forms the next government to invest £8 billion in the social care system over the next two years to prevent further decline.

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) President Julie Ogley welcomed the charity's findings saying: “These figures show why the next Government must prioritise adult social care. Successive governments have promised, but ultimately failed to deliver, the change we all need. The millions of us who rely on adult social care cannot afford another missed opportunity. That is why we are calling on each of the parties to set out their positive plans for the future of social care.”

Caroline Abrahams stressed: “Social care is not some kind of nice-to-have optional extra – it’s a fundamental service on which millions of older and disabled people depend every day. It is appalling that one and a half million older people in our country now have some unmet need for care – one in seven of the entire older population.”

Last reviewed 26 November 2019