William Eichler 27 June 2019

Thousands of older people impacted by care home closures, survey reveals

A new survey of adult social care directors has revealed that thousands of older and disabled people have been impacted by care home closures after a decade of Government cuts.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ (ADASS) annual budget survey has revealed the results of what the organisation describes as ‘the failure of successive Governments’ to address long-term funding for adult social care.

Adult social care directors in councils across England have had to find £7bn of savings since 2010 – a period when the demand on services also increased due to the ageing population.

The has had a negative impact on the social care system, according to ADASS.

Home care closures affected 7,019 people in 2018/19, up from 3,290 in 2017/18 and care home closures impacted upon 1,173 people in 2018/19, down from 2,095 people in 2017/18.

Contract handbacks from providers also affected 310 people in care homes and 3,464 people in home care in 2018/19.

Despite the deep cuts that have already been made to the social care system, directors are planning to find £700m of savings in 2019/20.

However, ADASS’ survey shows that there is a lot of pessimism within the social care sector when it comes to finding these savings.

For 2019/20, only 33% of directors of adult social services are fully confident that planned savings will be fully met in the year, with 65% directors being partially confident.

Only 35% of directors are fully confident that budgets will be sufficient to meet all of their statutory duties in 2019/20.

Directors are least confident about meeting statutory duties relating to care market sustainability (62% 2019/20, 79% 2020/21).

‘Every minute of every day, heroic care staff are making an essential difference to the lives of the people they look after. Many receive great care and support throughout and to the end of their lives,’ commented ADASS president Julie Ogley.

‘Sadly however, as this budget survey shows, we are still desperately lacking the sustainable, long-term funding needed to provide vital services that will support people to live as independently and healthily as possible

‘Too many older and disabled people and their families still struggle without getting the help they need.

‘Social workers, managers and councillors are having to make incredibly difficult decisions based on dwindling resources, which should not be allowed to happen in a modern, compassionate society.’

‘Our message from this survey to the new Prime Minister, whoever this may be, is very clear: Make social care an immediate priority. A thriving economy and a caring nation requires it,’ she added.

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