Over half a million on social care waiting list, says ADASS

Over half a million people are awaiting an adult social care assessment for care or a direct payment to begin or review their care, ADASS has revealed.

In a new survey, over six in 10 councils (61%) said they were having to prioritise assessments and were only able to respond where abuse or neglect was highlighted for hospital discharge or after a temporary period of residential care to support recovery and reablement.

Sarah McClinton, ADASS president, said: “We have not seen the bounce back in services after the pandemic in the way we had hoped. In fact, the situation is getting worse rather than better.

“Social care is far from fixed.  The Health and Social Care reforms go some way to tackle the issue of how much people contribute to the cost of their care, but it falls short in addressing social care’s most pressing issues: how we respond to rapidly increasing unmet need for essential care and support and resolve the workforce crisis by properly valuing care professionals.”

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ADASS said that despite staff “working relentlessly” over the last two years levels of unmet need and the complexity of need were on the rise and “far outstripping” the capacity to meet them with families having to shoulder greater responsibility to care for their relatives.

Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), said: “It is crucial we do not ignore the picture these words paint about delayed assessments and care. We are facing the very harsh reality of preventative and community services being pulled back, which will have profound consequences on the quality of life for disabled people and their families.”

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “We are deeply worried by these latest findings. Unpaid carers are at breaking point, exhausted after more than two years of caring with little or no outside support. The impact on a social care system that was already on the brink of collapse before the pandemic means even more pressure on even more families who are propping up a chronic shortage of services.

“With hundreds of thousands of people now waiting for an assessment or service, sustainable funding for social care is essential, without which many thousands of carers and families will simply be unable to cope much longer. Together with the impact of the cost of living crisis, we’ll see the unacceptable inequalities that unpaid carers and their families already face, widen.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK said: “The government deserves great credit for committing to improve social care, after all its recent predecessors chose to look the other way. However, ministers are at grave risk of being seen to over-promise and under-deliver on their promises, as this latest ADASS survey demonstrates only too well. It’s an utterly miserable situation for many older and disabled people, as it is for all the committed people who work in social care, alongside those who commission services in local authorities, who know they have no chance of meeting local needs.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have made it clear that reforming adult social care is a priority for this government and are investing £5.4 billion over three years from April 2022, funded by the Health and Social Care Levy.

“This includes £3.6 billion to reform the social care charging system and enable all local authorities to move towards paying providers a fair cost of care, and a further £1.7 billion to begin major improvements across adult social care in England.

“We are committed to the provision of suitable homes for older people and our white paper sets out an ambitious 10-year vision for adult social care – ensuring that people have the choice, control and support they need to live independent lives, can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support, and find adult social care fair and accessible.”

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Lee Peart

The author Lee Peart

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