Care bills are spiralling out of control in "pensioner hotspots" in Sussex, according to a new report.

The Liberal Democrats have picked out Worthing, Arundel and South Downs, Bexhill, Bognor, Littlehampton, Chichester, Shoreham, Eastbourne and Lewes as areas where a large elderly population is placing huge demands on the social services budget.

The report came as the party demanded a big shift in government spending away from NHS to tackle what it called a "crisis in the care system".

The Lib Dems said the NHS budget would rise by £6.7 billion next year, while social services budgets would gain only £360 million extra in real terms.

It meant councils would be forced to continue to deny or limit home and residential care for some elderly people, putting more pressure on frontline hospitals.

Yet it costs only £319 to keep an older person in a nursing home for a week, compared to a weekly bill of £1,630 in a hospital.

Paul Burstow, Lib Dem spokesman for elderly people, said the problem was particularly acute for local authorities with large elderly populations.

He said: "The Government is in denial about the scale of the crisis in our care system.

"Health and social care are two sides of the same coin. Under invest in one and you undermine the other."