Responding to the King’s Fund and Health Foundation interim report on funding adult social care, Margaret Willcox, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said:
“This report sets out very clearly the crucial issue facing all of us – how do we fund adult social care?
“This vital care and support safeguards us when we are in our most vulnerable circumstances because of disability or ageing. It’s clear that the need to develop a long-term, sustainable funding solution is urgent and has long been recognised across all political parties.
“There have been significant challenges to resolving this issue, and this report helpfully sets out what they are and how they can be addressed. ADASS has seen first-hand in our work how care has shifted from long stays in hospital, funded by the NHS, into community care, funded by a mix of benefits, individuals and councils.
“When the NHS was set up, the role of councils was largely in providing social work, residential homes, home helps (who helped with shopping and cleaning) and day centres. Times have changed and now home carers do much that district nurses would have done and nursing homes much that hospitals would have done. But more importantly, social care has transformed lives through enabling people to live lives as active citizens in their local communities.
“However, insufficient funding, increased need as more of us live longer, and increased costs as we struggle to pay care staff, who do vital work every minute of every day, have meant that fewer people are getting the care and support they need and care providers are increasingly closing down, selling up or handing back contracts, which causes significant issues for the people who rely on these services. There are also significant impacts in terms of people needing acute NHS care.
“There is no easy solution to tackling the long-term funding crisis facing social care, but there are options.
“These need to be fully considered whilst bearing in mind the long-term impact on the economy of working in care, which benefits we prioritise and how we invest in our communities’ primary and mental health services. Developing a solution will take political courage, engagement with the public and the wider care sector. The upcoming green paper is the opportunity for the Government and the sector to develop this, and ADASS will be working hard to encourage all involved to take this opportunity, and put these essential services on a firm financial footing.”