Council social care concerns highlighted

A survey has highlighted that leading council figures in England are concerned about a lack of confidence in the government’s plans for health and social care.

The survey, carried out by The Municipal Journal and the Independent Age charity, found that 96 per cent of respondents are not confident that the government’s current plans for health and social care are sufficient to cope with future demand, while 92 per cent are not confident that the government’s cap on care costs in 2020 will be delivered in their area on time.

Additionally, the survey, which sought views of council leaders, adult social care directors and council cabinet portfolio-holders responsible for adult social services in England, reported that 84 per cent do not expect the number of delayed transfers of care from hospital in their area to significantly drop in 2017. 2016 saw record numbers of delayed transfers of care from hospital both in terms of numbers of people experiencing delays, and the total number of bed days taken up by delayed discharge.

Andrew Kaye, head of policy at Independent Age, said: “The results of this survey are deeply concerning. Worryingly few council figures told us they believe that the number of delayed hospital discharges will fall this year. This means thousands of people who are well enough to leave could continue to be stuck in hospital because a social care package has not been put in place.

“While we have seen some short-term steps to relieve pressure on the NHS and local authorities, there is little evidence of a long-term solution. The impact of this failure is felt by millions of older people and their families who are unable to get the support or care services they need. The Prime Minister needs to recognise the scale of this crisis, and get on with a cross-party process to put a long-term solution on health and care funding in place.”

Clive Betts, chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, added: “There’s mounting evidence of a crisis in adult social care. Health and social care integration alone won't meet the needs of people in need of care and support. More money is needed in the short- to medium-term and, given the scale of rising demand, we need political agreement across the parties on a long-term funding solution for social care."