Lack of funding could compromise dignified care for elderly and disabled

The Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have submitted a joint submission to the government’s Spending Review, suggesting a solution to the financial lacking. The submission proposes that money previously intended for delayed Care Act proposals should be used to help plug the gap in funding. However, this will still leave adult social care facing a £1.7 billion funding gap by 2019-20.

Insufficient funding, growing demand and extra costs mean that the gap in funding for adult social care is growing annually, by at least £700 million per year. This is expected to reach £2.9 billion by the end of 2020 even before the cost of the national living wage is taken into full account.

Councils are already being forced to severely strip back or axe key services as a result of the lacking financial prospects. Furthermore, because there is less money to drive recruitment initiatives, including training and maintaining good staff, councils are unable to keep essential residential and home care provisors from going out of business.

The submission warns: “Social care is in crisis. We all deserve a social care system which can give our parents or grandparents a dignified and civilised level of care when they need it, but we can't do this without proper funding for councils.

"At the moment, social care and health have a shared ambition, but not a share of the money which is needed to achieve this. It simply doesn't add up and the Spending Review is the government's opportunity to address this.

"Pumping money into the NHS but not into social care has to stop. NHS money will not pay for the essential visits from carers that help people to get dressed or washed or the night time call to help someone into bed. It is these services that enable people to live with dignity in the community for longer instead of being forced unnecessarily into hospital beds – at a cost to the NHS and the public purse.

"We need a system which will be there for future generations - and we have ambitions in the Care Act to improve the lives of carers and those that need care - but these continued funding pressures are putting this at serious jeopardy."

Social care and support services are designed to keep people functioning independently and involved in the community. However, funding pressures and the increasing demand for complex needs mean fewer people are receiving state support.

According to a survey published by ADASS, 400,000 fewer people are receiving state social care and support than in 2009-10. Ray James, ADASS president, said: “Everybody accepts that more people are living longer, often with more complex needs.

“The welcome announcement of the living wage will inevitably increase the cost of care. Adult social care budgets have been cut by 31 per cent in real terms over the last five years. Ninety-nine per cent of NHS managers surveyed already report the impact of cuts to social care on front line NHS services. For the first year in living memory more care home beds have closed than opened.

"The simple undeniable truth is that the Chancellor must provide a fair and sustainable funding settlement for social care to ensure growing numbers of older and disabled people get the care and support they need each and every day of their lives."

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