Tens of thousands of people are turning to social services for urgent help because of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on families and individuals with support needs, who are unable to cope any further on their own or whose usual arrangements have broken down.
A survey of councils across England has found sharp increases in requests for help from people being discharged from hospital, fleeing from domestic abuse, or losing their regular support from unpaid carers who are themselves at breaking point.
The survey of more than 100 councils by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) offers some of the first hard evidence of the debilitating effects of the Covid-19 emergency on society. Many councils are reporting unprecedented demand for help.
James Bullion, ADASS President, said:
“This report paints a stark picture of how the pandemic has affected millions of us who have care and support needs, or who care for a family member who does. For the first time, we have hard evidence of the scale and breadth of the impact of Covid-19 on those of us who are working-age disabled people, older people, family members, and carers.”
ADASS is warning that unless adult social care is prioritised in the government spending review on Wednesday, millions of people could be at risk of receiving no care or support as the crisis continues and its impact becomes ever starker.
Its survey shows that:
- 82% of adult social services directors report rising demand for help from people being discharged from hospital;
- 69% report an increase in cases of domestic abuse and safeguarding of vulnerable adults;
- 63% report growing numbers of people seeking help because of the breakdown of unpaid carer arrangements through sickness or unavailability.
James Bullion said: “This should be a wake-up call for the government, and it must respond. The risk is that unless adult social care is prioritised in the Spending Review, the caring arrangements that millions of us rely upon will break down and the cost will the paid by society and the economy.
“This is an opportunity to send a clear signal that working-age disabled people, older people and carers are recognised, valued, and protected. Failure to invest now will also make the goal of long-term reform so much harder to achieve”.
ADASS is seeking a package in the Spending Review that would stabilise the adult social care system next year, meet all Covid-19 costs and offer some certainty for the longer term including multi-year funding settlements.
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Note to editors
The report is based on a survey of local authorities (101 of 151) in England. Responses were received between 22nd October and 13th November 2020.
For any follow up to the statement above, please contact:
Dr Phil McCarvill
ADASS Deputy Chief Officer