Care funding cuts in county areas could soon be ‘terminal’, warns the County Councils Network (CCN) ahead of the Autumn Statement.
A survey of adult social care directors (ASC) by the CCN revealed 88% believe their budgets to be either ‘severe’ or ‘critical’, and only 12% say current funding levels are ‘manageable’.
Contained in a new report entitled Delivering Adult Social Care in Challenging Times, the survey also discovered just one in five directors believe Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) will fulfil their objective to ensure services are sustainable in the coming years.
The ASC directors cite insufficient funding, and conflicting targets and incentives, as impediments to health and social care integration.
The report found social care pressures are most acute in county areas. CCN said this is because, despite their members having the oldest and fastest-growing elderly populations, funding has proportionately reduced for counties at a higher rate than any other local authority type.
This has had an impact on hospitals in county areas. CCN members have seen a 68% increase in the number of delayed discharges from April 2014 to July 2016, higher than in any other local authority area.
The CCN has written to the chancellor and health secretary to request they bring forward at least £700m of the Better Care Fund to 2017/18, to address the funding crisis now.
‘It is vital we work together to find a sensible and sustainable way forward,’ CCN chairman Cllr Paul Carter explained to the chancellor.
‘If we proceed on the current trajectory, I fear the impact on frontline social care services in counties will be terminal.
‘This will potentially leave some of the most vulnerable people in our society without the care and support they need to maintain their independence and dignity.’