The year ahead is expected to be a challenging one for people working and needing adult social care, according to a new survey.
The poll, released by ADASS, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, paints a grim picture for the sector.
Its spring survey is an annual study sent to every director of adult social services in the 152 English councils. Directors of 144 councils completed the survey, which was open between 5 May and 15 June.
Rising pressures on sector
Directors report a range of rising cost pressures, with 91% of Directors citing workforce recruitment and retention as a major driver of costs in care at home, and 85% for residential and nursing care.
Other pay pressures such as pay uplifts and recruitment difficulties are cited by 76% of Directors as driving up costs in care at home and 68% in residential and nursing care. Just under 60% of Directors cite lower than expected occupancy levels as a major driver of costs for residential and nursing care.
The ADASS Spring Survey 2022 also reveals that Directors are receiving more requests for support because of pressures elsewhere in health and care:
- 82% report increased referrals of people discharged from hospital
- 74% are recording more referrals and requests for support from the community
- 51% are recording more referrals and requests because of the lack of other services in the community
- Almost 7 in 10 directors say that care providers in their area have closed, ceased trading or handed back contracts to local councils. Many more cannot deliver the increased care and support needed due to staffing shortfalls
Responding to the publication of the ADASS Spring Survey 2022, Sarah McClinton, ADASS President, said:
“We are at the centre of the storm. Those who need or work in care are amongst the most exposed to the cost-of-living crisis.”
“A growing number of Directors tell us that they have never been more concerned than they are about the winter to come. We need action and funding now to support recovery in social care, just as in the NHS, and build firmer foundations for the reforms we all want to see.”
Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing board said: “This report provides further evidence of the immediate difficulties councils and care providers are facing in delivering care and support.”
December 2021 saw the publication of the Adult Social Care White Paper and a commitment from Government to provide £5.4bn over three years to fund the reforms within it. This includes more than £3bn to allow local authorities to pay providers a fair cost of care. It has also committed £500m for training to boost career opportunities.
Cathie Williams, ADASS’s Chief Executive added that more help from government was needed. “Our health and social care services are in jeopardy. Without immediate and substantial help from the government, we face the most difficult winter we have ever experienced during which more people will miss out on vital care, others will wait longer for support and choice and quality will decline still further.”
Read the report