World-renowned expert on ageing Professor Dawn Skelton has vehemently defended rehabilitation services for older people in England after a UK government policy U-turn.
The Professor of Ageing and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University and a member of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) Rehabilitation Group, said they were alarmed to learn that funding for ‘one-stop’ rehabilitation centres for older people in England had been withdrawn.
She said that COVID-19 virus has disproportionately affected older people with around half of diagnoses and almost 90 per cent of deaths from the virus being in the over 65 age group. Those that had not been affected by the virus had been shielding or in lockdown, putting them at huge risk for functional decline with the lack of physical activity.
A report by the Health Service Journal revealed that despite announcements of ‘Seacole Centres’ for rehabilitation in May, capital funding for these centres has not been made available.
Professor Skelton appeared in English media defending the services after the BGS put out a statement.
She hit out: “It is essential that older people who have had COVID-19 and those who have been shielding have access to appropriate rehabilitation facilities. While providing local rehabilitation services instead of central Seacole Centres will be preferable to many, local services need funding to ensure they are fit for purpose and able to meet the needs of the population they serve. Older people have already been the group hardest-hit by this virus, whether they contracted it or not. The rehabilitation support needed to help them return to independent functioning and preserve quality of life should now be given priority.”