CROSS-SECTOR calls from professional bodies, charities, care providers, independent experts and leading figures in the NHS have all expressed continuing concern at the national social care funding crisis, a message echoed by Reading councillors this week.
Following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), urged the government to take immediate steps to bring forward the funding needed to ensure that older and disabled people can get the care and support they need each and every day of their lives: “The Government’s failure to provide desperately needed extra funding for adult social care …..will inevitably see more older and disabled people not getting the care and support they rely upon to survive each day, an even greater toll being placed on the 6.5 million family members and other carers, increasing delays in the NHS, and even more care homes closing and growing gaps and failures in the care market.” The full ADASS response can be viewed here www.adass.org.uk/adass-responds-to-the-autumn-statement-2016
A recent report ADASS reported how many councils across the country say they will struggle to meet their legal duties to provide care while meeting demands to make savings.
Additional powers given to councils last year to access extra money for social care through the council tax system will raise only a fraction of the funds needed to cover spiralling costs.
This stark national picture is echoed in Reading, where the Council will struggle to cope with a significant shortfall in social care this year and in the years to come.
Rachel Eden, Reading’s Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said:
“People relying on social care in Reading will be incredibly disappointed that the government has again failed to invest in social care. The adult social care precept introduced last year is a drop in the ocean against the level of demand councils across the country have to cope with.
“The Council now has to make some incredibly tough decisions to enable us to continue to support older and vulnerable people. Although people who need care should not be frightened or anxious because their essential support will continue, we cannot hide the fact the Council will have to increasingly focus care on those who have been assessed as needing services. We will also continue to lobby at a national level for a better deal for Reading residents.”
Reading Borough Council has made more than £65 million of savings since 2011 as a result of Government cuts and increased demands on services. Latest estimates are that more than £42 million worthy of savings still need to be made by 2020.
There has been an increase in the over 65s (about 8%) population and people are living longer with long terms health conditions. The over 65 population is expected to rise steadily in Reading, with a notable rise in the over 85 population. By 2020, the Council predicts that 25% of people who pay for their own care are likely to have run out of funds and will therefore be eligible to have their care paid for by the Council.