The ‘alarming’ funding gap in social care has resulted in at least 400,000 fewer people in England receiving the care they need, health study reveals.
A new paper from the Health Foundation called on the next Government to pay ‘immediate attention’ to England’s struggling social care system, which faces a funding gap of £2.1bn by 2019/20.
The Health Foundation’s research found 400,000 fewer people received publicly funded care in 2012/13 than in 2009/10, due to falling funding and local authorities being forced to tighten the eligibility criteria for free social care.
It also revealed that in 2015/16 the number of people aged 65 and over living in England increased by 2% (around 170,000 people), yet the number of them receiving social care fell by the same amount.
The Foundation’s report, entitled NHS and social care funding: three unavoidable challenges, warned the elderly will face huge social care costs in the future. It said one in 10 older people face future lifetime costs of over £100,000 for their social care needs.
In conclusion the charity said the pace of funding growth for the social care system and the NHS will need to accelerate, taking a greater share of GDP. This is because of an increasing and ageing population; rising chronic disease levels; high public expectations; and new technologies and medical advances.
‘Years of austerity have left the NHS and social care sector in an increasingly perilous financial state,’ said Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation.
‘Government funding plans are not keeping pace with demand and cost, and, as a result, these vital services are showing increasing signs of serious strain.
‘Health and social care are vital public services that all of us rely on in times of need. We’ve seen years of funding volatility – going from feast to famine and back again – which is damaging for the long-term planning of services.’