Over 500,000 people are waiting for an adult social care assessment, for care or a direct payment to begin or for a review of their care, research published by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) shows.
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.
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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.
‘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,’ said Sarah McClinton, ADASS President.
‘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.’
According to ADASS, the 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.
‘Without action to prioritise care and support in people’s homes and local communities, it will take years rather than months to fully recover,’ said Cathie Williams, ADASS Chief Executive.
‘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.’