Social care crisis causes £441m council overspend

The deepening crisis in adult social care is likely to cause council overspends of almost £500 million, a new survey has projected.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) conducted a survey of 129 of the 152 directors of adult social services in England, and found that councils are planning to use their reserves and other one-off funding to plug the huge financial gap.

The outcome found that 62 per cent of councils have had residential and nursing home closures, while 57 per cent have had care providers hand back contracts in the last six months. Additionally, 79 per cent have quality concerns with one or more home care, and 84 per cent for residential and nursing care providers.

Other results include: 68 per cent of directors having discussions about reductions to NHS-funded continuing healthcare; 56 per cent reporting increased demand for healthcare activity to be undertaken by social care staff; and 51 per cent reporting increased demand from people with very high needs not being admitted to hospital.

In their submission to the Treasury ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Local Government Association (LGA) warned that social care for the elderly and disabled could be facing a potential funding gap of at least £2.6 billion by the end of the decade.

Ray James, ADASS immediate past president, said: “This survey paints a picture of adult social care verging ever nearer to a point of crisis. The funding gaps are a huge concern for the sector because the impact this is having on the lives of thousands of older and disabled people, their families and carers, is both significant and extremely worrying.

“Adult social care is entering a ‘perfect storm’ which is impacting on vulnerable people who are getting less help and whose need for care won’t stop. Urgent and significant government investment is needed now to address funding for the sector, or thousands of people who rely, or hope to rely, on receiving care, will suffer as a result.”