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

Nearly all social care bosses are fearful their care service won’t be able to manage this winter

Nearly all (94%) directors of adult care or social services are fearful that their care service won’t be able to manage over the next few months.

The findings are reported by the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services (ADASS), who say the survey is the “bleakest” they have ever had.

Significant increase in the number of staff leaving the social care workforce as a result of the cost of living crisis

The survey also revealed that the same number of directors believe there is not enough funding to meet the support needs of older and disabled people this winter, with three quarters (75%) saying they could not manage if a large provider were to fold over the next few months.

The impact of the cost-of-living crisis is being disproportionately felt by people who work in social care and those who draw on care and support, with 90% of those who work in adult social care say there has been an increase in the number of people leaving the workforce as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

There has also been an increase in the number of people who are unable to pay their care charges or fees due to the impact of rising food and utility prices.

More funding is urgently needed

Cathie Williams, ADASS chief executive, is now calling on the government to provide extra funding for the social care sector ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on Thursday.

She said: “The £500m discharge fund will not solve [the crisis in social care], when it is finally distributed – and it is urgently needed. We desperately need another significant injection of emergency funding to provide more help for people at home.

“If the Chancellor is going to postpone next year’s charging reforms, he must ensure that the cash already allocated for them is re-purposed to bring forward other measures that have an immediate impact on the ground so that more older and disabled people get the care and support they need.”

Staffing shortages and a lack of funding is having a direct impact on service users

Adult social care is in a significantly worse position going into this winter than last year, and this is having a direct impact on people who use these services.

In total, the number of people waiting for an assessment of their needs, care and support, a direct payment to begin, or for a review of their care plan has increased by roughly a quarter (24%) in the past year.

Of those waiting for an assessment, one third (33%) have been waiting for six months or more, nearly double the figure reported this time last year.

People accessing care people “cannot afford to be failed anymore”

Director of Communication, Advocacy and Activism Jackie O’Sullivan of Mencap, said:?”It’s clear that current funding and resources are nowhere near sufficient to deal with current needs, and it’s extremely worrying to hear of potential risk savings being made to social care proposals.

“The winter is going to be tough enough for care workers and the people they care for without a real terms cut in funding. We need a commitment in the upcoming budget that any money saved by delaying the reforms is used to stabilise the existing system.

“The longer we wait to invest, the greater the threat to local authorities and providers. But most importantly, the greater the impact on people accessing care, particularly disabled people, who cannot afford to be failed anymore.”

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