Crunch time for the care sector?


Elderly Panorama-Care Industry News (250 x 156)Care England, a registered charity, is a leading representative body for independent care services in England. Working on behalf of small, medium and large providers, Care England speaks with a single unified voice for both members and the whole care sector.

So is it crunch time for independent care providers in the UK?

Care England, the largest representative body for independent social care providers, has published a ground breaking report on the state of social care warning of a collapse in the system if providers and commissioners do not work together and more nurses are not recruited into the independent sector. It states that the next five years will be crucial in ensuring that the care and support services that many people rely on remain sustainable.

Professor Green, Chief Executive of Care England, said:

“This positive vision attempts to define the contribution that the independent care sector can make to avert a major disaster for the NHS and Exchequer. It makes very little sense to have dividing lines separating primary, hospitals and social care when people with long-term conditions – working age or elderly – frequently use all three. Evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes are needed with different elements of the system working together rather than in silos”.

Care England is uniquely placed to comment with an authoritative and representative view. Members have attempted to help Local Authorities by making efficiency savings in order to accept below inflationary fee rises and fee freezes, but this is now unsustainable. Increasing instances of Judicial Review and continued provider attrition are the only consequences arriving from the current way of working. Neither commissioners nor providers can afford the former, and individuals that we care for cannot afford the latter.

Martin continued:

“An inability to recruit nurses in the independent care sector is one of the main issues that is causing additional pressure to be placed on the care home, acute sector and commissioning budgets. We are in the process of developing a new hybrid role for nursing in the care home sector which would fall between a care worker and a nurse, but there is still a major supply-side problem, which the Government needs to urgently address if the nursing home sector is to survive”.

You can read the report here

Facts on independent social care:

Independent social care sector factsheet

  • The Office for National Statistics’ analysis of 2011 census data revealed that around 291,000 people over the age of 65 currently live in care homes. In addition to that, LaingBuisson market analysis shows that around 58,927 learning disabled individuals live in residential care settings.
  • In total, there are 17,500 residential services in England: 4,600 are care homes with nursing, and 13,000 are care only homes.
  • According to Age UK, just over 400,000 people over the age of 65 receive either community based support or support at home.
  • Skills for Care research shows how when direct, indirect and induced effects are taken into account, adult social care in England contributes £43 billion to the economy.
  • The Better Care Fund is £5.3 billion worth of shared resource between local government and the NHS. The fund is expected to achieve savings of £532 million, but the vast majority of this will go to the NHS.
  • There are many pilots currently being trialled, which offer integrated care. The NHS published its Five Year Forward View in October 2014, and launched 29 vanguard pilots to support the new models of care discussed, and there are 25 integration pioneers initiated by the Department of Health, which aim to integrate health and social care.
  • There was a cut in local authority adult social care budgets of 16% over the course of the last Parliament. At the same time in 2010, the Personal Social Services Research Unit projected that demand for social care services would increase by 17% over the decade from that year.
  • Research carried out by the Royal College of Nursing estimated that nursing shortages in the NHS are running at around 20,000.
  • According to Skills for Care, there are 51,400 registered nurses working in adult social care: 85% work in the private sector and 14% in the voluntary
  • The adult social care workforce numbers around 1.5 million. However, the turnover rate within the sector is very high and for nurses and care workers is running at almost a third of total staff numbers. The bite of the National Minimum Wage in the sector (the minimum wage compared to median income) is very high and was recorded by the Low Pay Commission as being at 80%.
  • The most recent figures from CQC show that adult social care is operating at 67.6% cost recovery (the extent to which fees cover the cost of regulation), in comparison to primary care, which only had a 31.9% rate of cost recovery.
  • 39% of over 55s across the UK fear dementia more than any other condition, as compared to cancer, for which the result is 25%. As well as a human cost, there is also an economic cost, with the Alzheimer’s Society projecting that dementia costs the UK around £26 billion per year.
  • Around 2,600 people with learning disabilities were recorded as being in inpatient units in February 2015 – a number that is beginning to decrease.


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