Seven in ten directors say they have seen an increase in referrals for mental ill health
In his first speech as the President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Stephen Chandler warns that 70% directors have seen increases in referrals and requests from people experiencing mental ill health, nearly half from people who have not been admitted to hospital.
Stephen Chandler has used his inaugural speech as the new ADASS President to encourage “reframing the narrative” of adult social care, urging everyone in the sector to “call out” the positive impact they have in their communities.
There were stark warnings, however, about the deteriorating state of the nation’s mental health, as early results from ADASS’s latest survey of directors suggested that 70% have seen increases in referrals and requests from people experiencing mental ill health, 48% from people who have not been admitted to hospital, while 57% reported increases in need relating to domestic abuse and older and disabled people.
Chandler, who is also Director of Adult Services at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “I believe a powerful, positive account of the impact of ASC has a great chance of being heard by government and forming part of changes to paying for and funding care and support and making the changes to the care and support we want. However, it has to be loud, unified, positive and engaging.”
Commenting on the importance of the Prime Minister’s promise upon entering Downing Street that he would “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”, Chandler said he planned to ensure the voices of local authorities, their partners and the people who need care and support would be heard to shape that reform.
Chandler said he would be “a friend of government,” quickly adding: “just in case you are anxious, that will include being a critical friend when necessary.”
The speech, which was delivered virtually as part of the ADASS Spring Conference, comes just days after 26 organisations representing the social care sector urged the Prime Minister to find a ‘1948 moment’ – similar to that which led to the creation of the NHS.
Reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 in the year, lamenting the “individual cost’” of more than 850 care workers and nearly 50 social workers, and the many older and disabled people who have lost their lives.
Chandler also complained that the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the poorest and most marginalised “has not been highlighted strongly enough”.
“Covid has shown the impact of a lack of investment, long-term planning, and resilience in the social care sector. It has shown the lack of value that successive governments have placed on our lives when we are older, disabled or caring for others,” he said.
The new ADASS President also commented on the raised profile of adult social care “both in relation to the terrible impact of COVID-19 on people, our workforce and our organisations but also in the context of creativity, localism, communities, partnership and leadership.”
“I believe it is incumbent upon us to ensure as we move forward, we not only highlight the experiences and impact but also use that to demonstrate collectively the importance to change and our opportunity to shape that change.”
Read the speech in full:
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