Social care sector crisis grows

Senior council officials have warned that social care services for vulnerable adults in certain parts of the country are on the brink of collapse.

As highlighted in research by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care Services, rising social care demand, growing pressure on the NHS and the precarious state of social care budgets for many councils mean that many simply ‘cannot go on’. It found that across England, just under a third of nursing home and residential care providers have handed back contracts or closed down.

Adass state that in order to avoid being left in a position where services can no longer operate, councils need to implement long-term funding strategies as opposed to making significant budget cuts.

These, it states, will equate to £700 million of funding during 2018-19, just under 5% of the £14.5 billion budget.

Higlighting the importance of the social care sector and the financial support required to underpin it was Glen Garrod. The president of Adass stated: “Social care is essentially about making sure we not only look after people with profound and increasingly complex needs, but also help many transform their lives. Sadly, however, this budget survey reveals, once again this essential care and support is just not being given the resources it needs.

“We cannot go on like this. How we help people live the life they want, how we care and support people in our families and communities, and how we ensure carers get the support they need is at stake – it’s time for us to deliver the secure future that so very many people in need of social care urgently need.”

It’s anticipated that during the next few weeks, the government will release a green paper focusing on the future of adult social care and potential proposals for a long term solution.

The release of these was highlighted by a government spokesperson, who said: “We know the social care system is under pressure — that’s why we’ve provided an extra £9.4bn over three years. We will shortly set out our plans to reform the system, which will include the workforce and a sustainable funding model supported by a diverse, vibrant and stable market.”

In addition to highlighting the financial pressure facing councils when it comes to later life care, the survey also showed the reliance of alternative approaches to care such as “asset based” or “self-help”. These methods rely on the efforts of neighbourhood groups and family to provide recipients of care with support.

The organization did go on to highlight the benefits that cash injection of £2.6 billion towards adult social care had had last year, namely in the form of helping certain councils to stay afloat financially.

However, it suggested that the contribution was more of a temporary solution to a long-term issue, stating that the problem had been “relieved, rather than resolved”.

In light of the challenges highlighted by the report, it will be interesting to see what will be included in the government’s green paper and whether any of the above challenges will be addressed.

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