Prime Minister’s plan offers “nothing real for people needing social care now”
Social care leaders are seeking important clarifications after last week’s announcement on adult social care funding and reform.
Social care leaders say they have been left “perplexed and concerned” that last week’s proposals pose more questions than answers, and that little of the £36 billion that has been announced is likely to make it to adult social care budgets.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), whose members are current and former directors of adult care or social services and their senior staff, says it has welcomed the Government’s decision to break what it calls the “25-year silence on adult social care reform”, however meaningful details behind the plans are not apparent.
“We have been left perplexed and concerned that the proposals pose more questions than answers,” Stephen Chandler, ADASS President said. “There is a promise to develop a White Paper for reforming adult social care which ‘will commence a once in a generation transformation to adult social care’ but we can find no funding commitments to make that happen.”
“It is not clear how this is consistent with what has been publicly promised and look forward to hearing more.”
Speaking in the House of Commons last week, the Prime Minister outlined the Government’s plans for Health and Social Care reforms, including a 1.25 percentage point increase in National Insurance contributions for working people from April 2022.
ADASS says it now needs “urgent clarification” around two main issues. It says that beyond the announcements on the social care cap and means-testing, it is not clear that there is any new money for adult social care to help improve care and support from April next year.
The representative body also says that the announcement provides no additional funding to enable the social care sector to deal with the overwhelming workforce pressures and increased levels of need that it is experiencing right now, particularly given the expectation that the following months will be one of the most challenging winters on record.
“What older and disabled people, carers and care workers need is a clear statement about the funding that will be available right now to see us through an incredibly difficult winter, for next year, and beyond,” Chandler said.
A recent rapid survey of its members showed that whilst councils are delivering more care and support in people’s homes, people are waiting longer for vital care assessments and reviews. It suggests that that the number of people waiting for assessments and reviews has increased over the last three months.
The survey found that nearly 300,000 people are currently awaiting social care assessments, care and support or reviews – and that this figure has increased by just over a quarter (26%) over the last three months. 70,000 people are waiting for care assessments – already increasing by 15,000 from July 2021.
11,000 people have been waiting more than six months for an assessment, up 57% from July this year.
“This has been billed as a big social care announcement, but beyond the implementation of a cap on individuals’ personal financial contributions and a raising of the lower limit of when people are charged in the future (the implementation of Part 2 of the Care Act), the additional money is all going to address issues in the health service. Unless there is something significant added, very little, if any, of the £36 billion that has been announced is ever likely to make it to adult social care budgets via the NHS,” Chandler continued.
“It will not add a single minute of extra care and support, or improve the quality of life for older people, disabled people and unpaid carers. That leaves few options. Further council tax rises, which risk local people feeling that they are being asked to pay twice? More people giving up work to care? Disabled people going without even more vital care and support?
“The risk is that this becomes just another in a long line of promises.”
Read the full document ‘Build Back Better: Our Plan for Health and Social Care’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/build-back-better-our-plan-for-health-and-social-care
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