Social care system at 'crisis point'
The social care system in England is at "crisis point", with more people asking for care but fewer on the receiving end, according to a recent report undertaken by the King's Fund. In the study, the renowned think tank uncovered a 2 per cent rise in adult social care requests since 2015/16, to hit 1.84 million requests in 2017/18.
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 increasingly 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 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."
What can we learn from the King's Fund report?
The report details the drop in the proportion of over-65s getting long-term social care from their local council could partly be due to a freeze since 2010/11 in the amount of assets people can hold and still be eligible for state-funded care. It warned that unmet need among older people remains high, with 22 per cent saying they need support but do not get it.
The report also warned of a growing crisis in the social care workforce, with 8 per cent of jobs vacant at any given time and a high turnover of staff.
An article that appeared in Care Markets Volume 27: 'Lack of workforce planning putting a strain on the care sector' mirrored concerns regarding a staffing shortage in the sector.
The government’s failure to grasp the crisis in social care is leaving millions of vulnerable people deprived of the support they need, with services in parts of the country near collapse.
This is the stark message from a new coalition of health organisations, 'Health for Care' led by the NHS Confederation, in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May.
Health for Care has made three recommendations to the PM that it believes are critical to achieving a long-term settlement:
• Eligibility should be based on need and must be widened to make sure that those with unmet or under-met need have access to appropriate care and support
• Any new settlement should provide secure, long-term, funding at a level to enable the social care system to operate effectively and deliver the outcomes that people want and need
• Any significant additional funds must come with a willingness to reform and improve the ways in which care is delivered.
Care providers will have to come up with solutions to deal with workforce issues because there is no realistic plan being introduced by the government, a report has concluded. The workforce study found the social care sector, which employs 1.47 million people, was facing a staffing crisis with a shortage of half a million workers over the next decade.
It said one in three workers were leaving the sector every year – the highest staff turnover rate of all industries in the UK. The 46-page document, by trade body Care Association Alliance and law firm Royds Withy King, found that recruitment slowed to 20,000 a year in 2016, down from 65,000 in 2010, while 23%, or 305,000, are aged over 55.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:
‘The social care workforce is vital – they work tirelessly to support the most vulnerable people in our society. Our national adult social care recruitment campaign is raising the image and profile of the sector, and helping to ensure there are enough staff to meet the growing demand for care and support.
‘We will set out plans at the earliest opportunity to reform the adult social care system to make it sustainable for the future, including a valued workforce.’
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The King's Fund
Care Market Volume 27