We’ve all seen the constant damning news reports highlighting the state of elderly care in Britain today, but is the problem really as bad as the media would like us to believe?

There have been several TV documentaries of late exposing abuse from staff at many nursing homes up and down the country, more often than not inflicted by immigrant workers, many of whom speak little or no English. Of course, it isn’t just the staff of care homes from whom our elderly people need to be protected. A recent report by the Health Service Ombudsman suggests that the NHS has continually failed in its quota to provide even the most basic standards of care to pensioners.

The report went on to list several cases of neglect towards vulnerable and seriously ill pensioners whilst in NHS care. For example, an elderly Alzheimer’s sufferer who was rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties passed away while her husband was forgotten about in the waiting room, meaning he was not by her side when she died. Another patient was found to be drenched in urine and dressed in somebody else’s clothes.

The problem doesn’t just lie with poor care. What about finance? Let’s take a good look at the healthcare cap the Government is putting into place. In a nutshell, this cap means that nobody will be asked to pay any more than £75,000 towards the cost of their future personal care. Any further healthcare expenses will be funded by the State.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s new bill may sound like a substantial improvement on the previous set-up until one delves a little deeper into the small print. I was outraged to learn that this cap seems to apply to accommodation overheads only, and does not include food or heating bills. However, a separate cap of £12,500 will meet food and utilities costs.

My second niggle: The Government will only provide support for standard local authority care. Anybody wishing to move into a more luxurious private nursing home will be required to upgrade by paying a top-up.  But look hard enough and there are come competitively priced care homes to consider like Avalon Nursing Care in Eastbourne, West Sussex, an example of a purpose built elderly care home that is run with compassion and caters for residents with mild dementia related illnesses.

Of course, this isn’t the only difficulty Britain’s elderly face. Setting the cap at £75,000, over twice as high as was recommended two years ago by a commission fronted by economist Andrew Dilnot, will only help around one in six pensioners, meaning that over 120,000 elderly people per annum will not be entitled to state assistance.

Another point to highlight: Healthcare payments will be deferred until after an elderly person’s death, meaning that nobody will be forced to sell their home before they pass away. Commendable, yes, but what happens after the death? Property will still need to be sold in order to pay for the healthcare the person received, meaning little or no inheritance for the children, taking British people back to square one.

Therefore, isn’t the proposed healthcare cap merely a case of moving the goalposts rather than solving the overall problem? Only time will tell.