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Year ahead “will be the most challenging adult social care has ever faced"

Directors of Adult Social Services have warned of difficulties ahead following spiralling inflation and ‘intense labour market pressures’.

18/07/22

Year ahead “will be the most challenging adult social care has ever faced"

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is warning that the year ahead will be the most challenging adult social care and the people needing and working in it have ever faced.

Responding to a survey for the association of adult social care leaders in local government, directors reported increases in care needs – with 87% saying more people are seeking support because of mental health issues, and 67% saying they are seeing more people because of domestic abuse and safeguarding concerns. ADASS says that equally concerning is nearly three quarters (73%) of directors reporting rising numbers of cases of breakdown of unpaid carer arrangements.

Directors say that the long-term impact of both austerity and the COVID-19 pandemic on support for people with care needs is now being compounded by spiralling inflation and intense labour market pressures.

Directors are also receiving more and more requests for support because of pressures elsewhere in health and care. More than four in five (82%) report increased referrals of people discharged from hospital, while three quarters (74%) are recording more referrals and requests for support from the community. More than half (51%) are recording more referrals and requests because of the lack of other services in the community.

Almost 7 in 10 directors say that care providers in their area have closed, ceased trading or handed back contracts to local councils. Many more cannot deliver the increased care and support needed due to staffing shortfalls.

Sarah McClinton, ADASS President, said the report showed that “we are at the centre of the storm”.

“Adult social care has long been in a fragile state, but growing economic turbulence is rapidly deepening our problems and concerns.”

“Those who need or work in care are amongst the most exposed to the cost-of-living crisis,” Sarah says. Existing challenges of rising requests for support, increasing complexity of care required, fragile care markets, and underpaid, undervalued and overstretched workforce, risks being compounded by the current cost of living crisis. People who need care and support, unpaid carers and those who work in adult social care are amongst the most exposed.

This picture has profound implications for people who need care and support today, those who will need support this winter and our chances of providing the type of care and support we all want in the future.

Cathie Williams, ADASS’s Chief Executive, said that health and social care services are “in jeopardy”.

“Without immediate and substantial help from the government, we face the most difficult winter we have ever experienced during which more people will miss out on vital care, others will wait longer for support and choice and quality will decline still further.

“Measures so far to ‘fix’ social care simply do not address the scale of current funding and workforce challenges and are crying out for a long-term, properly funded plan.” 

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