Responding to the latest NHS England figures for delayed transfers of care in December, published today, Margaret Willcox, President Elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said:
“The increase in emergency admissions and delayed discharges and record levels of delays attributable to social care is very concerning but unsurprising and reflects the social care funding crisis which is failing to tackle the growing demand within local communities for care of people living longer and with increasingly complex needs.
“People with care needs are going to hospital because of a lack of provision in the community and are staying longer in hospital for the same reason. This vicious circle needs to be broken with immediate, significant, sustainable and long-term funding for adult social care.
“Social workers and care staff did a brilliant job covering the Christmas period, but unless there is sufficient care at home, people will continue to attend A&E, leading to increasing pressures on hospital staff already struggling to cope with demand.
“The fact that there were 25,900 delayed days in December because people were waiting for care packages in their own home – an increase of more than half on one year earlier - is a matter of enormous concern and reflects the crisis facing adult social care.
“Councils are doing everything they can to protect adult social care budgets and look after the needs of their communities, but with care homes closing, councils projecting in-year overspends of almost £450 million, and the cost of the welcome National Living Wage, services are in significant and increasing jeopardy.
“Without a long-term solution to funding social care, the worrying consequences for older and disabled people, their families and carers, will continue with more vulnerable people spending longer in hospital - rather than in their own home and communities.”
Notes to Editors
- There were 195,300 total delayed days in December 2016, up from 154,000 (a 27% increase) in December 2015
- The proportion of delays attributable to social care has increased over the last year to 36% in December 2016, up from 32% in December 2015
- The main reason for social care delays was patients awaiting care package in their own home. This accounted for 25,900 delayed days (36.9% of all social care delays) in December 2016, compared to 16,900 in December 2015 (a rise of 53%)
- An ADASS survey of 129 of 152 directors of adult social services revealed that the average projected overspend per council for the year ending 31 March 2017is £2.9 million. If this scenario were replicated for all 152 councils the combined overspend for 2016/17 would be in the region of £441 million. In 2015/16 the combined overspend was £168 million.
- The delayed transfer of care figures can be found at https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/06/December-16-DTOC-SPN.pdf
- ADASS’ 2017 Budget submission is available here: https://www.adass.org.uk/budget-2017-representation-by-the-association-of-directors-of-adult-social-services