New survey findings from ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) show that more than half a million people are now waiting for an adult social care assessment, for care or a direct payment to begin or for a review of their care.
The latest data suggests:
• More than six in 10 councils that responded (61%) say they are having to prioritise assessments and are only able to respond to people where abuse or neglect is highlighted, for hospital discharge or after a temporary period of residential care to support recovery and reablement. (1)
• 506,131 people were waiting for assessments, reviews, and/or care support to begin (2)
• There has been a 16% increase in the number of hours of home care that have been delivered since Spring 2021, but that dipped from a high of over 41m hours in Autumn 2021 in the first quarter of this year as staff vacancies and sickness impacted (3)
• Almost 170,000 hours a week of home care could not be delivered because of a shortage of care workers during the first three months of 2022 (4). That is a dramatic seven-fold increase since Spring 2021
This new evidence shows that despite staff working relentlessly over the last two years, levels of unmet, undermet or wrongly met needs are increasing, and the situation is getting worse. The growing numbers of people needing care and the increasing complexity of their needs are far outstripping the capacity to meet them.
Despite great achievements in increasing the amount of care provided, there is an even starker rise in the support now needed, with more people left without essential care to maintain their health, and dignity and lead good lives in their communities.
Not only are people waiting longer for care assessments, reviews, care packages and personal budgets, but family carers are having to shoulder greater responsibility and are being asked to take paid or unpaid leave from work when care and support are not available for their family members.
Making the focus of resources on acute hospitals, without addressing care and support at home, means people deteriorate and even more will need hospital care.
Responding to the findings, Sarah McClinton, ADASS President said:
“We have not seen the bounce back in services after the pandemic in the way we had hoped. In fact, the situation is getting worse rather than better.
“Social care is far from fixed. The Health and Social Care reforms go some way to tackle the issue of how much people contribute to the cost of their care, but it falls short in addressing social care’s most pressing issues: how we respond to rapidly increasing unmet need for essential care and support and resolve the workforce crisis by properly valuing care professionals.
Cathie Williams, ADASS Chief Executive said:
“Without action to prioritise care and support in people’s homes and local communities, it will take years rather than months to fully recover.”
“We need a funded plan so that we can ensure that everyone gets the care and support they need, with more of the Health and Social Care Levy being used to fund care and support in people’s homes and communities over the next two years. People cannot wait for funding trickle into adult social care and wider community services”.
Commenting on the report Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK said:
“These new figures make for grim reading and behind them are real older and disabled people whose lives are being sadly diminished by lack of essential support. They highlight how desperate things are at the moment in social care, because of shortages of money and staff, so I hope Ministers will stop trying to claim that they have ‘fixed social care’.
“It would be fantastic if they had but unfortunately there is clearly an awful lot more for them to do. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people are having to put up with a ramshackle service, with more than half a million unable to get even to first base by having an initial assessment.”
“I’d love to be able to give people some hope by suggesting that once the Government’s care reforms start to come in next year, things will start to improve. The problem though is that this wouldn’t be true, because their changes really only relate to how much financial support people get in paying for their care, they won’t do anything to expand the help available or improve its quality and reliability, and that’s what many older people and their families tell us worries them the most. After all, what’s the point of having the reassurance that you won’t face unlimited bills for your care, if there’s no one to provide it for you in the first place?
“The Government deserves great credit for committing to improve social care, after all its recent predecessors chose to look the other way. However, Ministers are at grave risk of being seen to over-promise and under-deliver on their promises, as this latest ADASS survey demonstrates only too well. It’s an utterly miserable situation for many older and disabled people, as it is for all the committed people who work in social care, alongside those who commission services in local authorities, who know they have no chance of meeting local needs.”
The Report Notes that:
1. Between the 23rd of February and the 11th of March, 61% of councils in England say they are having to prioritise assessments and are only able to respond to people where abuse or neglect is highlighted, for hospital discharge or after a temporary period of residential care to support recovery and reablement.
2. As of 28 February 2022, a total of 506,131 people were waiting for assessments, reviews, and/or care support to begin. This is a significant increase from the 294,353 people reported as waiting in September 2021
3. Since spring last year there has been a 16% increase in the number of hours of home care that have been delivered, but that dipped off in the first quarter of this year as staff vacancies and sickness impacted
4. Almost 170,000 hours a week of home care could not be delivered because of a shortage of care workers from January to March 2022. This is a 43% increase since last summer and a trend that has been steadily worsening. Increasing needs and increasing complexity of people’s needs are far outstripping the money and staffing to meet those needs. There has been a 671% increase since Spring 2021.
5. There were 94 responses to this survey, which is a 62% response rate. The results are extrapolated to represent figures for 152 local authorities for comparative purposes.
6. You can find copies of the previous ADASS member survey reports here: