Intense Pressure on Social Care System as Record 2 Million Adults Seek Support, Calls for Urgent Reforms

Intense Pressure on Social Care System as Record 2 Million Adults Seek Support, Calls for Urgent Reforms

A report from the King’s Fund think-tank signals a crisis in the social care system as a record 2 million adults sought support in the past year.

Despite the surge in applications, the report reveals a decline in the number of individuals receiving publicly-funded care.

This alarming trend prompts urgent calls for reform and prioritization of social care by the next government.

Record Demand, Declining Support: The Social Care 360 Report Findings

The Social Care 360 report exposes a concerning discrepancy between the rising demand for care and the diminishing support provided.

Local authorities faced an 11% increase in care requests from 2015/16 to 2022/23, reaching a staggering 2 million applications.

However, the number of people receiving publicly-funded long-term care decreased by 2%, leaving only 835,000 individuals supported, compared to 873,000 in 2015/16.

Financial Eligibility Challenges: Tightening Criteria and Rising Costs

The report highlights a persistent tightening of financial eligibility criteria since 2010/11, creating challenges for those in need.

Local authorities grapple with rising costs, with care fees for working-age adults increasing from £1,400 to £1,540 since 2015/16. Older individuals now face a weekly fee hike from £670 to £840.

Against this backdrop, the social care workforce experiences a high vacancy rate, and fewer unpaid carers receive direct support.

King’s Fund Recommendations: Urgent Funding Increase and Eligibility Reforms

In response to the dire situation, the King’s Fund calls on the next government to prioritize social care by increasing funding to stabilize the sector.

The aim is to make the field more attractive for existing staff and potential recruits.

The report underscores the necessity for funding and eligibility reforms to create a fairer system, coupled with initiatives to improve overall care quality.

Local Government Association’s Concerns: Disappointment Over Budget Allocation

Kaya Comer-Schwartz from the Local Government Association expresses disappointment over the lack of new funding in the recent budget to alleviate the pressure on underfunded social care services.

The report sheds light on the precarious state of adult social care and emphasizes the urgent need for financial support.

Department of Health and Social Care Response: Commitment to Improvement

In response to the findings, the Department of Health and Social Care emphasizes its commitment to improving the social care system.

With additional funding of up to £8.6 billion available in the current financial year and the next, the department aims to address the challenges faced by the social care sector.

Private Care Home Closures: One in 30 Shut Down Since 2011, Raises Safety Concerns

Separate research reveals concerning trends in private care homes, with one in 30 closures since 2011.

Analysis by Oxford University suggests that privately-run homes, particularly for-profit organizations, tend to deliver poorer care. Enforced closures often involve serious safety breaches, leading to traumatic relocations for residents.

The study calls for an investigation into systematic reasons behind these closures and underscores the need to protect care users.

Growing Reliance on Private Providers: Implications for Adult Social Care

The study warns of a growing reliance on private providers, accounting for more than 85% of all care homes in England in September 2023.

With a notable increase from 78% in 2011, researchers emphasize the necessity for a comprehensive assessment of the impact of for-profit provision on the quality and sustainability of adult social care in England.

Department of Health and Social Care’s Stance: High Standards Regardless of Profit Basis

The Department of Health and Social Care asserts the expectation for all care homes, regardless of profit basis, to adhere to high standards of quality and safety.

While acknowledging the concerns raised by the study, the department remains committed to improving the social care system.

Investment in technology, workforce skills, and a major transformation initiative are part of the ongoing efforts to enhance the sector.

World News

TDPel Media

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