The Government is “woefully underprepared” for the consequences of a rapidly ageing society in England, a House of Lords committee has warned.
In a report, the cross-party committee cited figures from the Office for National Statistics which predict a 50 per cent rise in the number of over-65s and a doubling in over-85s between 2010 and 2030.
While agreeing that longer life is a “gift” to be welcomed, the committee said that unless the Government acts swiftly, it can be expected to cause “a series of crises” in society and public services.
The report called on the Government to publish a white paper before the 2015 general election setting out how England needs to prepare for an older population.
And it said that whichever party is in power after the election should set up two cross-party commissions to report within a year on action to be taken to get ready for an older society.
One commission should work with employers and financial services providers to improve pensions, savings and equity release schemes, while the other should look at organisational and funding changes needed in the health and social care system.
Health and social care services will need a “radically different model” to look after people in their own homes and in the community and avoid needless hospital admissions, said the report.
The committee said that the current NHS and care system is already “failing” older people and is “inappropriate” to deal with the expected large increase in elderly people, a sizeable proportion of whom will have long-term health conditions.