ADASS urgently cries out for the UK Government to stabilise the social care system in England
A snap survey of the state of social care services in November 2021 has revealed a rapidly deteriorating picture of hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people left waiting for help despite record increases in care being provided to people in their own homes.
Directors of social services across England are expressing unprecedented alarm at the findings as winter approaches. They say the government must act urgently to stabilise the care system.
The survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) – which was completed by over half of the directors of adult social services in England – has found that nearly 400,000 people are now waiting for an assessment of their needs or a service.
It also reveals that more than 1.5 million hours of commissioned home care could not be provided between August and October because of lack of staff, despite record growth in provision. This level of unmet need is almost three times that recorded for May to July, and more than five times that for February to April, ADASS uncovers.
Furthermore, around 50 percent of councils have had to respond to a care home closure or bankruptcy over the past six months.
Stephen Chandler, ADASS president, said: “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 snap survey also reveals that, in the last quarter, roughly 3,694 people could not move into their chosen residential or nursing home because of staffing constraints.
The survey findings come ahead of expected publication of the UK Government’s whitepaper 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 findings suggest, however, that immediate steps must be taken to stem the loss of care workers to other sectors to ensure services can be maintained. ADASS is urging the government to fund a £1,000 winter retention bonus for all staff.
ADASS has previously called for an immediate investment of £1.5 billion to prevent the further collapse of care.
A whitepaper launched earlier this year by HAS Technology suggested that technology-enabled care (TEC) solutions could help the social care system by enabling people to remain independent at home, easing pressure off social care staff, and facilitating remote insights to prevent accidents.