The Richmond Group of Charities has today released Real Lives, which describes real life experiences of seven individuals and families who are using social care services today. Real Lives is launched alongside a major report, Social Care for Older People: Home Truths, from the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust. You can read the report here
Social Care for Older People: Home Truths revealed:
- Bleak funding outlook for the next five years, with public spending on adult social care set to fall to less than 1 percent of GDP and councils unable to meet minimum statutory duties
- Knock-on effect to the NHS, most visibly resulting in an increase in delayed discharges from hospital
- Access to care depending heavily on what people can afford and where they live
Real Lives sets out the challenges and barriers people face when accessing social care, these include:
- Councils reducing access to care and support services by raising eligibility criteria and increasing fees and charges
- A lack of support for families and carers, who are not always receiving what they need or are entitled to under the Care Act (2014)
- Serious doubt over the sustainability of the social care provider market, which sees people receiving minimal care from multiple carers
Responding to this, Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “As social care budgets are slashed it’s those who are most vulnerable who must suffer the consequences. Time and again, we hear of how people with dementia are forced to choose between which basic level of care they must forgo. In some cases, homecare visits are so short they have to decide between a cup of tea or a wash.
“Theresa May cannot neglect this issue in the post-Brexit turmoil. While the full implications of Brexit remain cloudy, the implications of an underfunded social care system are staring us in the face – social care urgently needs a solid financial grounding before this house of cards falls.”
Chief Executive of Carers UK, Heléna Herklots, responded;
“Today’s joint report from The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust shows the cumulative impact on older people and their families of year on year cuts to social care.
“Reinforcing Carers UK’s own research findings, the new analysis describes an increasingly haphazard and complex social care system. Older people and carers are struggling to navigate their way to support and even getting basic care needs met increasingly depends on where you live and what resources you have.
“The report should come as a wake-up call to the new Government that sustainable funding of social care must be at the top of their agenda.”
Commenting on the report; Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England said:
“Adult social care is a huge challenge for this Government. This report reaffirms what providers have been telling us: that without adequate resources the sector will simply crumble. It is dangerous to underestimate the potential role and capacity of the independent sector in supporting NHS sustainability and reducing delayed discharge numbers, which continue to rise”.
Care England, the largest representative body for independent social care providers, has submitted evidence to three Parliamentary Select Committees this summer. It is clear that the social care precept has not delivered what it was meant to, raising less than two thirds of the costs of the National Living Wage, and that the Better Care Fund hasn’t reached social care provision. ADASS has shown that the system needs at least £1 billion, each year until the end of this Parliament, simply to maintain the status quo.
Professor Martin Green continued:
“Providers are willing to work with politicians and commissioners, but this goodwill needs to extend to action in order that those in our care can continue to rely on the availability of the high quality care that they need and deserve. The King’s Fund has shown definitively that underfunding, combined with shortages of nurses and care workers, is putting unprecedented strain on providers”.
‘It’s our hard-working, professional and dedicated care workers who are left picking up the pieces’ says GMB
GMB, the union for workers in the care sector, also commented on a King’s Fund review that suggested that cuts to care have left ‘frail elderly fending for themselves.’
The report found that the number of over-65s being helped by the council had fallen by a quarter between 2010 and 2014.
Elly Baker, GMB national officer for the Care sector, said “It’s our hard-working, professional and dedicated care workers who are left picking up the pieces in the wake of the damage caused by sustained funding cuts.
It’s the Government’s neglect that has left the system on its knees. We need adequate pay, conditions and respect for those working in care so they get the support they need to look after older people with the dignity they deserve.”
Colin Angel, UKHCA Policy and Campaigns Director commented:
“The Kings Fund have produced a comprehensive overview of the pressures facing adults using social care services and the organisations which provide and commission them. What is striking, is the recognition from inside the sector of the scale of the problem for state-funded care, and the sense that Government has to take matters seriously.”
Mike Padgham, UKHCA Chair added:
“The Kings Fund report released today is yet another wake up call to Government of the immediate need to address the critical underfunding of adult social care services. We welcome the report’s calls for more sustainable reforms, but Government and councils must sit up, take notice and act on the funding pressures which are currently facing providers and the people who use their services right now. The forthcoming Autumn Statement is an opportunity that must not be missed.”