The social care system is under “immense pressure” with more people needing care but fewer receiving it, a new report by The King’s Fund has revealed.
The new analysis shows the number of people requesting adult social care has grown by 2% since 2015/16 to 1.8m. However, almost 13,000 fewer people are receiving support and local authority spending on social care has dropped by £700m on 2010/11.
Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund and lead author of the report, said: “This report shows that increasing need among working-age adults, an increasing older population and high levels of existing unmet need are combining to put immense pressure on our care and support system, now and for the future. Yet there is little evidence that the government understands or is willing to act on these trends despite the impact on older and disabled people, their families and carers.”
The number of over 65s receiving social care from their local council has fallen by 6% due to a freeze on the number of assets people can hold and still be funded for state funded care. Unmet need amongst older people remained high at 22%, the report added.
Meanwhile, the amount it costs councils to pay for care each week has grown to an average of £615 for residential and nursing care, up by 6.6% on 2015/16.
Additionally, the number of nursing and residential care beds available for people aged over 75 has fallen from 11.3 per 1,000 to 10.1 per 1,000 since 2012.
The report also highlights the sector’s growing staffing crisis with around 8% of jobs vacant at any one time and 390,000 staff leaving their jobs each year.
Despite these challenges, 90% of social care users said they were either extremely or quite satisfied with their care in 2017/18.
Simon added: “The social care Green Paper, which still has no release date over two years after it was announced, is an opportunity to set out the fundamental reform we desperately need. But while the Green Paper is delayed, the government must focus on what it can do to support people now. Putting more money into the system in this autumn’s Spending Review would help people to get the help they need while longer-term reform takes effect.”
Steve Ellis, CEO, Legal & General, Retail Retirement Living Solutions, said: “Property wealth could have a potentially significant role to play in addressing the care crisis and the lifetime mortgage market is already well placed to help people unlock the £1trn of housing wealth owned by ‘last time buyers’. This equity can be mobilised to help individuals cover the costs of social care, as well as giving older homeowners the opportunity to remain in their homes and maintain their independence for longer.”