Warnings social care system in England is at 'crisis point'

The social care system in England is at crisis point, with more people asking for care but fewer receiving it, a new report reveals.
The social care system in England is at crisis point, with more people asking for care but fewer receiving it, a new report reveals.
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The social care system in England is at “crisis point”, with more people asking for care but fewer receiving it, a new report reveals.

The study, from the influential King’s Fund think tank, found a two per cent rise in new requests for adult social care since 2015/16, to hit 1.84m requests in 2017/18.

The study found that fewer people are receiving care, with almost 13,000 fewer granted help over the same period. Local council spending on social care has dropped in real terms and is now £700m below what it was in 2010/11.

It comes after The Yorkshire Post reported on Saturday how an additional 55,000 care staff are needed by 2035 in order to meet the needs of an ageing society, with 7,200 unfilled vacancies in this region at present.

But the latest study found it is not just older people who are requesting help, with a rise in the number of adults of working age seeking support as levels of disability rise.

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Since 2015/16, there has been a rise from 1.31m to 1.32m older people requesting help, while among working-age people requests have gone up from just over 500,000 to nearly 524,000.

The data shows more than 7,000 more working-age people are receiving long-term support compared with 2015/16, but there has been a fall of more than 20,000 older people receiving it.

Simon Bottery, senior fellow at the King’s Fund and lead author of the report, said: “This report shows that increasing need among working-age adults, an increasing older population and high levels of existing unmet need are combining to put immense pressure on our care and support system, now and for the future.

"Yet there is little evidence that the Government understands or is willing to act on these trends despite the impact on older and disabled people, their families and carers.

“The social care green paper, which still has no release date over two years after it was announced, is an opportunity to set out the fundamental reform we desperately need. But while the green paper is delayed, the Government must focus on what it can do to support people now.”

The analysis found 18 per cent of working-age people now report a disability, up from 15 per cent in 2010/11.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring people of all ages have access to the care and support they need. We have given local authorities access to up to £3.9bn more dedicated funding for adult social care this year.”