Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Adult social care waiting list grows to 470,000

A learning disability charity says it is clear that “current funding and action are not keeping up with demand” after new research has revealed the adult social care waiting list has grown by 8% to 470,000.

Indeed, nearly half a million older and disabled people are waiting for care to start, direct payments or their care needs assessed.

There is concern that this waiting list will grow even larger, with councils facing tough decisions around maintaining care and support services as financial pressures demands further savings from adult social care.

One third of adult social care leaders need to cut down spending by £83.7 million

According to the ADASS Autumn Survey, at least one third of adult social care leaders in England need to find another £83.7 million of cuts as we head into winter.

This is on top of the £806 million in savings directors across England committed to make in their budgets this year.

However, ADASS says the true cost of social care for local councils is likely to be even higher, because the cost of providing care to all of those people who need it is not included in the current projections.

On top of this, research by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found that councils in England face a funding gap of £4 billion over the next two years – a rise of £1 billion since the LGA’s last analysis in July.

By 2024/25, it is expected that cost and demand pressures will have added £15 billion (almost one third) to the cost of delivering council services since 2021/22.

Government urged to address the issue during Autumn Statement

Kirsty Matthews, CEO of the learning disability charity Hft, said the findings are “highly distressing” and are “indicative of a sector struggling at all levels.”

Matthews says while the adult social care sector is “resilient”, we should expect more. “Providers should not have to shoulder the financial burden of funding cuts and those who need support should not have to fight for it,” she said.

“It’s not too late. Next week’s Autumn Statement will be the ideal opportunity for the Government to demonstrate that it values the adult social care sector, and those who draw upon it, by investing in a sustainable and thriving future,” she added.

ADASS urges government to provide a £900 million funding package

ADASS President, Beverley Tark, said the survey shows that funds from the government have “stopped the ship sinking” but it hasn’t moved the boat “out of the storm”.

“Social care leaders and their teams are struggling to find savings and meet people’s needs at least minimally, but they can’t perform miracles from already overstretched budgets.

“Thousands of people are waiting for their council to assess their care needs and some of these people will reach crisis point and end up in hospital this winter, because they haven’t got the support they need in time,” she added.

ADASS is now calling on the government to provide an additional £900 million to stabilise adult social care and to help the sector recruit and retain more care workers.

The Association would also like to see the government implement a fully funded plan for social care which takes account of the true cost of essential social care.

“We ask that the government demonstrate that it values the lives of all of us, not least people needing and working in social care.

“Older and disabled people, people from poorer and culturally diverse communities, carers, people with mental ill health, those experiencing domestic abuse and the largely female workforce, are leading restricted or foreshortened lives, when social care can support gloriously ordinary lives,” she concluded.

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