ADASS home care survey: More than 1.5 million hours undelivered amid staffing crisis

Stephen Chandler cropped

More than 1.5 million hours of commissioned home care could not be provided between August and October because of lack of staff, according to a survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

The news comes despite a significant increase in the number of home care hours being delivered across the country.

ADASS said the survey paints a picture of a “rapidly deteriorating situation” in social care and called on the government to step in with emergency funding.

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It found that the average number of hours being delivered by 79 adult social services between August 1 and October 31 was 272,341, an increase of 15% on the previous three-month period. If this were to be replicated across the country 41.3 million hours would have delivered nationally.

However, an estimated 1.53 million hours of care could not be delivered during this period due to the absence of capacity, an increase of 164% on previous levels.

ADASS estimates that almost 400,000 people are now waiting for an assessment of their needs or a service, while 41,192 people have been waiting over six months for an assessment, a 271% increase on September’s Rapid Survey.

Stephen Chandler (pictured), president of ADASS, commented: “This survey confirms our worst fears. Red lights are flashing right across our dashboard.
“Despite magnificent efforts by the committed, courageous and compassionate people working in social care who are delivering extraordinary amounts of care and support, services are failing to meet everyone’s needs and older and disabled people are suffering.
“The government must now acknowledge the scale of the crisis and step in with emergency funding and measures to ensure we can get through the winter ahead.”

The findings come ahead of expected publication of the government’s white paper on reform of adult social care. ADASS is calling as a priority for action to raise the pay and status of care work and put it on a professional footing in the long term.
The survey suggests, however, that immediate steps must be taken to stem the loss of care workers to other sectors to ensure services can be maintained, ADASS said.

The organisation is urging the government to fund a £1,000 winter retention bonus for all staff.

The Homecare Association said the survey supports its recent findings that demand for home care is outstripping supply.

CEO Dr Jane Townson said: “Rapidly growing waiting times for assessments and reviews, reduction in available safely staffed care services, and contract hand-backs, also add to pressure on the NHS. Inadequate capacity in social care risks harm to everyone needing medical help, as it contributes to ambulance queues, cancelled operations, and an increase in hospital waiting times. We fear that imposing vaccination as a condition of deployment will intensify risk. At least 20% of the homecare workforce could be lost as a result of this policy, leaving over 100,000 older and disabled people without care.

“As central government appears determined to sabotage the care sector, there is an urgent need for local government and the NHS to work with care providers to develop contingency plans. Risks to older and disabled people of worsening staff shortages and service failure must be mitigated.  

“We call on the government to add social care workers to the shortage occupation list without delay. Government also needs to fund councils adequately to enable fair reward of the care workforce, reducing the number of staff leaving in favour of better pay, terms and conditions of employment in other sectors.”

Dr Rhidian Hughes, CEO of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) said the realities of government’s under-funding of social care is having profound consequences on the quality of life for disabled people.

“We are receiving daily reports of managers being unable to fill rotas and stepping in personally to cover shifts. Skeleton staffing of services is pulling away essential support that enables people to maintain control over their lives. And we already know that many charities are not taking on new services because they are unable to secure the workforce,” he explained.

“With social care commissioned at minimum wage rates, our members have nowhere to turn. Pay cannot be increased without sufficient funding coming forward from central government. Every day providers are losing staff to competition from other sectors including retail and hospitality.

“It is vital that government urgently steps in and provides the emergency funding that is being called for by ADASS. We need this to get through winter and to stem the rising levels of unmet need.”

Tags : ADASSstaff shortagessurvey
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke