Cuts to social care funding are “biting hard” with more people requesting social care support from councils than those receiving it, The King’s Fund has warned.
New data from the think tank reveals that requests for state-funded care grew by 6% in 2018/19 compared to 2015/16, while the number of people receiving formal care packages fell by 2%.
In last year’s Social Care 360 report, a v-shaped graph showing the divergence between those people requesting social care support and those receiving it was dubbed the ‘crocodile’s mouth’, partly because the sinister tone – never smile at a crocodile – reflected a worrying trend.
“The bad news is that the latest data for 2018/19 shows the crocodile’s mouth has opened even wider,” said Simon Bottery, a senior fellow at The King’s Fund, in his latest blog post.
“However, the ‘crocodile’ name is also appropriate because, like the animal’s reputation for fake tears, the graph is somewhat deceptive,” he added.
“Combining the numbers for both working-age adults and older people, obscures two rather different trends.”
For working-age adults, the trend is one of a large increase in demand (10% since 2015/16), with the number receiving long-term care up 3%.
For older people, requests for support are up 4% since 2015/16 but the number receiving long-term care is down 7%.
The King’s Fund said in the Social care 360 that the differing trends might be partly explained by differing rates of reported disability among older people and working-age adults.
The think tank said it will examine this further in its 2020 report.