Social Care Data Finder: October update

9th October 2020 about a 2 minute read

Our Social Care Data Finder reflects the latest updates to official statistics and local authority data sets made publicly available about adult social care in England.

Updates in the last month include new figures from Public Health England for 2020 reporting the number of care home and nursing home beds respectively for people aged 75+ in England. Although there is no significant change in these numbers compared to 2019, they nonetheless carry on a trend since 2012 for fewer beds available as a proportion of the population. This decline in beds could become problematic as the population aged over 75 is projected to increase substantially over coming years, and evidence shows older people are increasingly likely to have requests for formal long- and short-term support rejected. The current COVID-19 crisis has put the spotlight on care homes and may have a lasting effect both on the availability of such services and the propensity for people to use them in the future.

As noted in our last update, data produced right now has a strong focus on COVID-19 – which is understandable and necessary – but the ongoing pandemic also appears to directly impact the availability of reliability of data in some areas relevant for social care. For example, NHS Digital cautions that:

“Due to the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) disruption, it would seem that this is now starting to affect the quality and coverage of some of our statistics, such as an increase in non-submissions for some datasets.”

This is noted in relation to monthly statistics for Learning Disability Services, Mental Health Services and Community Services for Children, Young People and Adults. As some of these groups are already underrepresented in the data available, this is concerning. We will continue to seek solutions to these problems in the coming months through our ongoing work and collaboration with the Health Foundation on strengthening social care data analytics.