The golden rules of adult social care must surely be to promote service user independence, support carers and constantly remind the powers that be that these things matter. In effect, this is what this month’s London Councils report, The State of Adult Social Care in London is all about.
The report highlights some impressive numbers: for example, since 2015, Adult Social Care Services in London have saved £48 million in efficiencies. In addition, by reducing unnecessary hospital stays, a further £4.6 million per year can be added to that total.
Supporting service users
How have these savings been made? London boroughs have focused on supporting service users at home and reducing admissions to nursing and residential homes. They have also looked at NICE’s estimated NHS bed day cost of £222 and, by improving transfers of care, have avoided unnecessary hospital stays.
These achievements were applauded by Ray Puddifoot, London Councils’ Executive Member for Health & Care, who said: “Boroughs are proud of the excellent work carried out by adult social care services across the capital. The sector has shown itself capable of adapting, innovating, and achieving impressive efficiencies.”
There are pressures, though; not least London’s high proportion of people of working age needing social care provision, and that the number of Londoners aged 65 and older is rapidly increasing. These rising trends expose the level of fragility in local care markets. The report stated that millions of pounds worth of contracts have been handed back to local authorities and thousands of service users have been adversely affected by provider closures.
The report concludes that, despite the good work that has been done in a climate of ‘unprecedented funding pressures’, the sector is facing a funding gap of £540 million by 2025 if government fails to meet the sector’s short, medium and long term funding pressures. This is echoed by Cllr Puddifoot, who said: ‘the capital’s growing population means more and more Londoners need social care. It’s vital that services get the resources they need to cope with increasing levels of demand.”
London Councils is therefore calling for eight actions on adult social care, with a central plea for a long term funding plan. This must address the demographic changes, the increasingly complex needs of individuals within the sector, and the growing cost implications for local authorities.