King's Fund calls for urgent government action on struggling social care sector
"We urgently need the long-term, wide-ranging reform for adult social care that the Prime Minister promised after the general election" Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund
New figures reveal the dire state of England’s social care sector before the pandemic, with more people requesting support but fewer getting the help they needed.
The new data is part of Social Care 360, The King’s Fund’s annual assessment of the state of the social care sector. It paints a picture of deep decline, with many key indicators continuing to move in the wrong direction.
The report comes just days before the Queen’s Speech on May 11 in which the government will be setting out its agenda for the next session of Parliament.
Between 2015/16 and 2019/20, 120,000 more people requested social care support but around 14,000 fewer people received either long- or short-term support.
The report’s lead author Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, commented: “Following a decade of neglect, there is a continuing gulf between what people need and what they receive.
“The latest data paints a bleak picture with few causes for optimism. Even where measures have improved, there are often caveats. Local authority spending on social care has finally returned to the levels of 2010/11 but not if you take population growth into account; spending per person has fallen”.
He noted that care worker pay had improved but it’s not rising as fast as other sectors so vacancies remain high.
Meanwhile demand is likely to continue to rise but cash-strapped local authorities will not be able to meet it.
“If we are to avoid reporting on a further bleak round of indicators in future years, we urgently need the long-term, wide-ranging reform for adult social care that the Prime Minister promised after the general election,” he warned.
The report highlights six key actions that will be needed to improve and reform social care in the years ahead: