A recent survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services warns that our social care system is becoming unsustainable.
We need urgent action to ensure vulnerable people can access care they need.
The impact of the cuts is clear – one constituent has had her care package cut from 24 to just six hours per day. Others are concerned about the changes to learning disabilities services.
Local Authorities have faced a 26 per cent cut in their care department budgets in the past four years – totalling £3.52 billion. All this while there is an escalating demand for services, particularly for older people.
Why is the care system suffering like this?
Earlier this year the government passed the Care Act to modernise and reform the current care system. Its remit is wide ranging and its aims impressive.
The Act was not accompanied by fresh investment at a time when there is already a funding gap in adult social care of £1.9 billion.
The Better Care Fund to integrate health and social care services is an example – no new money just a pooling of existing resources. Top slicing budgets will not pull social care back from the brink. Wider change is needed to save the care system from collapse, old ways of working won’t do.
Government need to take a holistic approach and value the ‘low level’ care often provided by family.
If we continue to ignore the needs of those with mild to moderate requirements their needs will grow, putting the system under greater strain.
In Lowedges in my constituency there is an innovative Integrated Service Project. It brings together housing, social care, voluntary, community and faith sectors to work with people helping them remain independent as long as possible.
Taking this integrated and preventative approach works. It reduces and delays the requirement for critical social care. The care system is built on critical care – meaning innovative projects will be cut first.
If we want our social care system to survive, we cannot give it new responsibilities with one hand, and take resources away with the other.