THE PROSPECT OF FURTHER cuts in social care budgets is very likely to erode further our capacity to provide vital care and support to disabled and older people; to ensure their safety and wellbeing, and to create conditions to underpin resilient, self-determining communities.
This was the message ADASS President David Pearson brings to Parliament today and is due to present to the House of Commons Health Select Committee inquiry into health and care finance.
Only weeks before the Chancellor was due to announce his Autumn Statement, Mr Pearson warned that meeting the £4.3 billion gap opening up between the cost of rising demand and their ability of social care departments to meet them (See http://bit.ly/1yMEFJV) became more challenging month by month.
“Yet,” he said, “the consequences of not meeting these challenges will be profound. Failure to bridge the gap will mean many vulnerable people being left in a desperately precarious state. This is not shroud waving,” he insisted, “but a reflection upon the fragile state of council budgets in the context of rising demand and reducing resources.”
Looking towards the future he stressed the importance, and value to the health/economy as whole as well as individuals, of increasing commitment to personalisation, and intensifying the move towards integrating health and care services with health.
There are, he said, a mix of measures required:
* Transforming services to make sure people are helped to remain as independent as possible,
* Integrating with health to join up services around people’s needs, and
* Ensuring there is urgent investment to guarantee all immediate needs can be met.
Mr Pearson ended: “We are facing challenging times which require new and sometimes radical solutions. As we approach this year’s Autumn Statement, the forthcoming Spending Review and the enormously important General Election next May, the prospect of further, deeper cuts is genuinely alarming.
“Adult social care only represents two per cent of total public spending while supporting up to 1.3 million vulnerable people, 6.5 million carers and is one of the mainstays of local employment.
“It is time for society to take its choice, deciding whether to invest more in services which protect and support hundreds of thousands of disabled, or older people, or people with mental health issues or learning disabilities. Or to let the gap get wider between the care all these people need, and our dwindling capacity to make sure they get it.”