The majority of directors of adult social services in England are concerned about the sustainability of some of their home care providers.
In a survey of 147 council directors, 82% – up from 75% – agreed that COVID-19 short-term funding has helped to prevent failure of home care services, but there is a profound uncertainty about the future.
The ADASS Spring Survey reported that government funding is insufficient to fund both the costs of the National Living Wage increases, and the costs of increasing demographic pressures. It also warned of an “impending crisis” in the retention of social care staff.
This year adult social care departments are expected to collectively find £601 million in savings and are facing a funding shortfall of £204m.
ADASS president Stephen Chandler said: “Additional funding from the government has been welcome and it has helped mask the worst of the issues that we would otherwise have seen. However, it has largely helped paper over the cracks that we have long known existed and without a commitment to longer term sustainable funding the reality is that the current budgets will not stretch.”
Only 1% of directors said they are concerned about most of their domiciliary and community care providers, down from 15% in 2020/21, and 15% are concerned about none of their home care providers, up from 9% last year.
It should be noted, however, that the 2020 survey was conducted during the early stages of the onset of Covid-19, prior to additional government funding being made available to address some of the additional pressures facing local authorities.
Meanwhile, nearly 55,000 older people and disabled adults waiting for an assessment of their needs, and a further 19,000 people who have been and assessed and deemed eligible are waiting for a service or direct payment to arrange their care and support.
Dr Jane Townson, CEO of United Kingdom Home Care Association commented: “Home-based care and support should be available to everyone who needs it.
“We are calling on the government to invest in social care now to enable us all to live well at home and flourish in our communities, regardless of age or ability, prevent people’s needs escalating, to properly reward and value the care workforce who have cared with bravery and dedication throughout this pandemic, to support the NHS and to ensure that our social care providers are able to operate sustainably.
“We want a future in which people can be confident that care and support, of a quality we all expect and deserve, is there for them and their loved ones when they need it. The Prime Minister must keep his promise to ‘fix social care’, and that action must come soon.”