Half A Million Older And Disabled People Lose Care

  • Research reveals dramatic care funding squeeze
  • Care Bill: 75 charities back Government’s ‘bold’ reforms
  • CSA urges Government to re-think national care threshold and invest in local care

Half a million older and disabled people who would have received social care five years ago, now receive no local support.

As MPs prepare to debate the Care Bill today, new figures from the London School of Economics expose the “true scale of the social care crisis”.

The Care and Support Alliance, a coalition of 75 organisations and charities backs the Government’s ‘bold reforms’.

But it is calling on Ministers to re-think a proposal to restrict who gets support and address the funding crisis in local care.

The study, commissioned by the Care and Support Alliance examines the social care system over a five-year period, 2007/8 – 2012. The findings show that:

  • The number of people receiving support from councils with tasks such as getting up, getting dressed and getting out of the house has plummeted for five years in a row – by a total of 347,000 since 2008
  • Adjusting for socio-demographic change, this is equivalent to 483,000 older and disabled people, who need support for basic tasks like getting washed and having a meal, and the families that care for them, being locked out of the social care system.

The squeeze is the result of councils restricting who they provide care.

Of the 152 councils in England, government figures show 86% now offer care only to those with the highest level of needs – deemed as ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ needs.

In those areas this means older and disabled people who are unable to undertake several aspects of personal care, or of work, education or training are no longer eligible for council-funded care.

Under the current system they are described as people with ‘moderate needs’. But the CSA argues that description doesn’t capture the significant impact not having support has on a person’s life.

The LSE research demonstrates that sitting behind the squeeze is a huge funding shortfall:

  • Government spending on social care would have had to rise by an additional £1.6 billion, just to keep pace with demographic pressures.

In fact research by the Association of Adult Social Services Directors (ADASS), shows that adult social care budgets have actually been reduced by £2.68 billion over the last three years.

Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, says:

“This research lifts the lid on the true scale of the social care crisis since the start of the recession.
“Chronic underfunding has left nearly half a million older and disabled people, who need support to do the basics, like getting up or out of the house, cut out of the care system.
“Cash-strapped councils have also squeezed the care packages of those still receiving support.
“The Government has put forward strong proposals in its Care Bill, which will greatly improve a social care system which is on its knees.
“But it’s becoming clear that a huge number of older and disabled people will not see any of the benefits of the new system, because of plans to tightly restrict who gets care.
“This will place huge pressure on family carers.
“We want the Government to have the courage to see its bold plans through, and make sure that those who need support to live independently – to get up, get washed, and get dressed, and get out of the house – get council care.
“To do this, the Government needs to commit to properly funding the social care system.”

Care and Support Bill 

MPs are set to debate the Care Bill for the first time this week. The CSA has called the bill ‘a real achievement’ and praised a series of positive amendments to the Care Bill, including the right to an independent advocate for some of the most vulnerable people.

However, outside of parliamentary debates, restricted access and funding remain issues.

Eligibility

The Government is planning to restrict the number of people who can benefit from the new system.

According to the London School of Economics, setting the threshold at ‘substantial’ means approximately 362,000 older and disabled people will not receive any support from their council. They will have to pay for their own care without their costs being capped.

The Care and Support Alliance is calling on the Government to set eligibility at ‘moderate’ so as many people as possible benefit from the new system, and get the preventative support that keeps them from falling into crisis and ending up in A&E.

The final decision on where the national threshold will be set will be published for consultation in spring next year and voted on in autumn 2014.

Funding

The Government announced a £3.8 billion Integration Transformation Fund.

But the Local Government Association has said that it is an important development but “if the Government continues to cut council budgets then the good intentions of the fund will be damaged and it will do no more than slow the growing gap between supply and demand for social care.”

According to LSE to set eligibility at ‘moderate’ the Government would need to increase funding for social care by £2.8bn a year.

 

Fusion

 

 

 

 

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