Coun­cil count­ing cost of

Peo­ple in Buck­ing­hamshire are liv­ing longer, and with that comes in­creas­ing pres­sures on front­line ser­vices. JO-ANNE ROWNEY finds out more

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

NOT so long ago peo­ple were cel­e­brat­ing the fact that peo­ple in Bucks live longer. In the Chilterns, women can ex­pect to live to 86.4 years old, and men 82.2 years.

When put like that, who would not be jumping for joy?

But when you speak to health of­fi­cials, so­cial work­ers and those hold­ing the purse strings, the sit­u­a­tion is cast in a dif­fer­ent light.

Liv­ing longer means more peo­ple to care for and more de­mand for ser­vices, be­cause liv­ing longer does not au­to­mat­i­cally mean healthy, fit, sprightly peo­ple liv­ing longer.

“The last cou­ple of years the [adult ser­vices] port­fo­lio has changed a lot, like oth­ers across the coun­try,” said cab­i­net mem­ber for health and well­be­ing Pa­tri­cia Birch­ley.

“With that there are the risks adult so­cial care faces.”

The first is the in­crease in de­mand.

In­terim ser­vice di­rec­tor for adult and fam­ily well­be­ing, Rachael Rothero, said: “We have an age­ing pop­u­la­tion, we know that.

“We need to pre­pare for the fu­ture.”

At the lat­est health and adult ser­vice care com­mit­tee meet­ing, she ex­plained the sit­u­a­tion for the next 20 to 30 years.

Ms Rothero added: “Lack of re­sources is not a rea­son for not meet­ing statu­tory de­mand.

“This is not a new chal­lenge. We are al­ready as a port­fo­lio see­ing a grow­ing in­crease in de­mand for ser­vices.”

This is not al­ways re­flected in the bud­get, though.

Fi­nance business part­ner Adrian Isaacs said over the past four years there has been a ‘mod­est in­crease’ in bud­get – 2.5 per cent.

Pa­tri­cia Birch­ley, cab­i­net mem­ber for health and well­be­ing How­ever, spend­ing would cost us £66mil­lion since 1948 and putting it ex­ceeds this when it comes per year – a sig­nif­i­cant to­gether in a Care Act, for to the el­derly – four per dif­fer­ence.” April 2015. cent. The gov­ern­ment is also Ms Rothero said the

“It was pos­si­ble [to cope] putting pres­sure on Bucks’ changes will mean the due to the sav­ings that were ser­vices, as it com­pletely teams will have to also care made over the same over­hauls the way care is for pris­on­ers and car­ers. pe­riod,” he said. “If that de­liv­ered. “We’ll need the right was the av­er­age au­thor­ity it It is tak­ing all leg­is­la­tion work­force for that and

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