Funding to deliver reform for adult social care “grossly inadequate”

Social care “cannot make do any longer”, ADASS President Stephen Chandler warned as he called on the Government to fulfil its promise of a once-in-generation transformation of care and support for older and disabled people.

26/11/21

Funding to deliver reform for adult social care “grossly inadequate”

Speaking at the opening session of the annual National Children and Adult Services Conference, Chandler said the funding so far committed to deliver long-awaited reform of adult social care in England was “grossly inadequate”.

“We cannot rescue health and social care in the short or the long-term by addressing issues in one part, it has to be both,” Chandler said: “Adult social care deserves more. It deserves better.”

He expressed disappointment that the Government had not responded to a call by ADASS for a £1,000 bonus for care workers and funded breaks for the most hard-pressed unpaid carers in recognition of their unrelenting commitment.

Both measures would cost less than 1% of what had been spent in fighting the pandemic and would help see the care sector safely through a winter that had all the hallmarks of a “perfect storm”, he warned.

“I don’t want to dwell on the negatives just as we open conference, but it would be foolish not to acknowledge the very severe pressures we are all operating under. I have been using the term ‘perfect storm’ in recent weeks and, although that is an overworked term in other contexts, I make no apology for applying it to adult social care right now.”

“Now we are starting to pick up evidence of domiciliary care agencies going out of business, and of others handing back contracts they cannot fulfil simply because they cannot recruit. Where overstretched teams are just managing to keep the show on the road, appointments are being kept - but often only much later than scheduled. People are left waiting to be helped to wash and dress, to eat and drink and to take vital medication.

Chandler welcomed the greater public awareness of the role of adult social care that had come about as a result of the pandemic, and he thanked the Government for embarking upon reforms that the sector had been urging “for decades”.

“The pandemic has shone a light on adult social care that has at last raised public awareness of it and has made it impossible for politicians to continue to evade responsibility for its long-overdue reform,” Chandler said.

“We must extend the public’s now greater understanding of care for older people to the support we provide for younger adults, which has not so far received the same media attention, and indeed the wider work that adult social services do in respect of social exclusion. That is a responsibility each and every one of us in this virtual room has so lets all collectively shout loud.”

The challenge now, Chandler said, was to “close the deal on the right reforms to make adult social care fit for the modern era and a proper pillar of our welfare state, almost 75 years after it was given a walk-on part.”

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