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Four in five social services directors concerned over care home sustainability

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Four in five directors of social services are concerned about the sustainability of some of their care home providers, a new report has found.

The ADASS Spring Survey 2021 found almost 75,000 disabled and older people and carers are waiting for help with their care and support as social services struggle to cope with an avalanche of needs arising from the COVID pandemic.

Directors of social services reported unprecedented numbers of people waiting for an assessment of their needs, or for agreed care and support arrangements to be put in place with almost 7,000 people have been waiting more than six months for an assessment.

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The report also warned of an impending crisis in the retention of social care staff and calls for the recognition of the role played by staff in adult social care.

ADASS warned government funding through the adult social care precept and social care grant was insufficient to cover the costs of demographic pressures and the National Living Wage, pointing to a shortfall of at least £204m in the current financial year.

Stephen Chandler, ADASS president, (pictured) said: “Many directors are saying they have never seen such an avalanche of need. Tens of thousands of people have lost their independence during the pandemic, suffered fresh distress or seen existing care and support arrangements break down. Many have delayed coming forward until now.

“Behind every one of the 75,000 cases of people waiting for an assessment or for care and support is a human story of someone unable to lead the life they want to lead and enjoy the minimum that any of us would want to guarantee for our fellow citizens.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “No local government official readily admits they are routinely breaking the law, and the fact that so many have done so in this survey shows just how bad a state social care is now in. We admire the honesty of these Directors of Adult Social Services, and sympathise with the increasingly impossible position they find themselves in, trying to spread the jam ever more thinly to meet a tsunami of local care needs – a situation made worse by the pandemic.

“While Ministers fiddle, social care burns, leaving hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people, and their family carers, without the support they need to live decent, dignified lives. The Prime Minister has promised to fix social care and he should live up to his pledge. It’s hard to imagine how the results of a survey like this could get much worse, but there’s no doubt they will, unless and until the Government delivers on their promises.”

Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Kathryn Smith, added: “We’ve spent 16 months talking about how COVID-19 has put care and support services under even more pressure than usual; and how it has further highlighted the need for reform. Today’s report looks at some of the unintended consequences of COVID-19.

“But we will continue calls for meaningful reform as these worrying figures underline just how much that reform is needed right now. We agree with ADASS that under-investment means that more people are in need of social care and support but fewer are getting it; and many are getting less. Political leaders know that this is high on the agenda. Today we join ADASS and others in calling for sustainable reform for adult social care.”

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The author Lee Peart

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