£1bn needed to stabilise adult social care system

In its submission to the 2017 budget, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has claimed that an emergency £1 billion should be made available to aid the social care crisis.

To address the shortfall in next year’s budgets and stabilise the ‘sufficiency and quality’ of the care market, ADASS has warned that local authorities will likely ‘fail to meet their statutory duties’ without extra funding.

Adult social care, which provides for approximately two million people and is deemed ‘at tipping point’, has seen spending as a percentage of GDP in England fall in recent years, and ADASS argue that it will continue to fall from around 1.2 per cent in 2009 to around 0.9 per cent in 2020. The combined predicted overspend for councils for 2016/17 will be in the region of £441 million.

A snap survey of ADASS members in October 2016 demonstrated the fragility of the care market: 62 per cent of councils had experienced residential and nursing home closures; 57 per cent had had home care providers hand back contracts; and 21 per cent have had residential and/or nursing care providers hand back contracts. The closure of services and hand back of contracts had affected an estimated 10,820 people using council funded care services in 129 councils.

Additionally, 79 per cent of councils had quality concerns with one or more home care providers and 84 per cent with residential and nursing care providers.

Margaret Willcox, president elect of ADASS, said: “It is imperative that social care is treated as a national priority because current solutions go nowhere near what is needed to meet the increased needs for, and costs of, care for older and disabled people.

“A cumulative total of £5.5 billion has been cut from council social care budgets by the end of this financial year. If the huge projected council overspends of £441m cannot be funded from savings in other council services or from reserves, even greater reductions in social care services will follow in the next few months and many councils risk failing to meet their statutory duties.

“Emergency assistance of £1 billion - which is at least what all leading sector experts say is needed to fund adult social care next year - and distributed on a needs based formula, will prevent further deterioration whilst working on a longer term solution, and would go some way towards stabilising the system for councils, providers and the NHS.”

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