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£50m from Welsh Govt aims to ease pressure on NHS

The Welsh Government has detailed how it will spend a £50m investment to ease pressure on the NHS in Wales.

The aim is to prevent unnecessary hospital and residential care admissions, and help prevent delayed discharges from hospitals and other care settings for older people.

The investment aims to reduce unnecessary admissions and delayed discharges from hospital and residential care. Credit: PA

Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, said: "Our £50m Intermediate Care Fund provides an excellent opportunity to make a real difference to older people across Wales."

"The investments I'm announcing today will see health, housing and social services, along with the third and independent sectors, work together on some very innovative projects to enable older people to maintain their independence and remain in their own home."

Welsh Govt: Tackling poverty is a 'key priority'

The charity, Age Cymru, warns that around 50,000 pensioners in Wales lives in 'severe' poverty. The group is calling on the Welsh Government to do more to support older people across the country.

Tackling poverty remains a key priority for the Welsh Government and I am committed to taking forward a number of programmes that lift people out of poverty or stop the risk of them falling into it.

Examples of our work include appointing an Older People's Commissioner to champion older people's rights, announcing further grant funding of £1million for front-line advice services and fully-funding our free local bus travel service for older or disabled people. There are 725,000 bus passes in circulation, demonstrating the success and popularity of the scheme.

However, we recognise that it is important to identify new opportunities to reduce poverty and improve the lives of those living in the poorest parts of Wales

– Jeff Cuthbert AM, Welsh Government Minister for Tackling Poverty


Charity calls for action over pensioner poverty

Older people's charity, Age Cymru, has warned almost 50,000 pensioners in Wales live in 'severe' poverty.

Research by the charity found that 84,000 older people in Wales live in poverty. Credit: PA

Graeme Francis, from Age Cymru, said: "All older people should have an adequate standard of living.

"No-one should be faced with a calamitous reduction in their standard of living when they retire or be resigned to a life where they are forced to choose between basic essentials in order to make ends meet."

The charity says more needs to be done to help support older people in Wales.

  1. Richard Morgan

Calls for more to be done to protect people from scams

A Cardiff pensioner has told ITV News of her concerns for other vulnerable people, after she became the victim of an online scam.

Valerie Evans, who's 72, had her personal details stolen and used online as part of a loan application.

Her story comes on the day a national campaign is launched urging people to be vigilant, amid warnings that scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Chief Executive of Age Cymru, Ian Thomas also talks about what can we do to help protect older people, particularly as scams are becoming more sophisticated.

'Up to 50,000' scams committed in a year in Wales

Older people's charity Age Cymru says its estimates up to 50,000 scams could have been committed in Wales over a year - but only around 2,500 were reported, and there were only a handful of prosecutions.

The charity has today called on the Welsh Government to act to protect older people against scams.

Between February 2012 and February 2013:

  • More than 2,500 scams were reported to Trading Standards departments in Wales
  • Age Cymru estimates that up to 50,000 scams could have been committed in Wales- as the Office of Fair Trading believes that only 5 per cent of scams are ever reported
  • Just under 1,000 doorstep scams were reported in Wales, with 19 prosecutions
  • More than 1,650 mail/phone/online scams were reported in Wales, with two prosecutions


Welsh Government 'committed' to extending No Cold Calling Zones

The Welsh Government says its committed to extending No Cold Calling Zones in Wales. It comes as the older person's charity Age Cymru calls for more action to be taken to protect older people from becoming victims of scams.

In our Programme for Government, we made a commitment to supporting the extension of No Cold Calling Zones. We recently announced over £35,000 to support Local Authorities in developing new zones which will cover an extra 10,000 homes approximately, taking the total number of properties covered to around 50,000.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Charity calls for action on scams against older people

Today sees the launch of Scams Awareness Month Credit: PA

A Welsh charity is calling for government action to protect older people from scams and rogue traders.

The 'Scams and Swindles' campaign marks the beginning of Scams Awareness Month and urges the Welsh Government to increase the number of 'No Cold Calling Zones' in local authorities.

There are currently over 1,500 zones covering almost 40,000 residential households in Wales.

It also asks telephone companies and internet service providers to provide more protection against scam mail, calls and messages.

Gerry Keighley, from Age Cymru, said: "Older people who are targeted and caught up in scams lose an average £1,200 each, but they can lose much, much more - their life savings, their self-esteem, their dignity and even the will to live.

"Families can also be devastated by scams as some older people end up trusting the scammers more than they do their own relatives."

Winter flu warning for older people

A leading welsh charity is warning that more elderly and vulnerable people could die unnecessarily this winter because of a twin threat from rising fuel bills and a reluctance of some people to get winter flu jabs.

Today, SWALEC and Southern Electric's parent company SSE announced that it was increasing it's annual energy bills for 600,000 electricity customers and 400,000 gas customers across Wales

The average bill will rise by 8.2% from next month.

This news comes as experts warn that a third of pensioners risk becoming seriously ill because they don't get their winter flu jab, as Megan Boot reports.

Winter campaign encourages people to visit pharmacy

The Winter Wellness campaign is being run throughout October, and encourages older people in particular to visit their local pharmacy to find out how to stay well over the winter months.

It coincides with the start of NHS flu vaccinations for over-65s - and they are part of the checklist targeted by the 714 community pharmacies throughout Wales involved:

  • Flu and flu jabs
  • Smoking and smoking cessation services
  • High blood pressure and medicines checks
  • Long-term conditions and medicines reviews
  • Hospital stays and medicine reconciliation on returning home

More people die in Wales in the winter than in summer months, as illustrated by figures from the Office for National Statistics:

  • There were 1,300 excess winter deaths in Wales in 2011-12
  • 80 per cent of those winter deaths were people over 65 years of age
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