Impending public spending cuts imposed by the new coalition government could cause personalisation to falter, adult social care professionals fear.
More than 80% of respondents to our survey said cuts to adult care budgets would impede the progress of personalisation, while 36% said a lack of resources had been the biggest barrier to successful implementation so far.
An emergency budget in June will set out how the Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration will start cutting the UK’s public sector deficit – forecast to be £156bn in 2010-11. With the coalition promising to increase NHS spending in real terms during the lifetime of this parliament, other areas, including adult care, could face substantial cuts.
Our survey also found that services such as day centres were being closed already on the grounds that users with personal budgets would be less likely to use them in the absence of council contracts with providers. Such closures had been experienced by over half of respondents.
The charity In Control, which has pioneered personalisation, raised concerns that senior managers were using personalisation as a cover for service cuts.
Its policy and communications lead, Andrew Tyson, said: “Personalisation is about choice and we know a lot of people are still choosing day centres and if they are not there, people won’t be able to choose.”
He also raised concerns that resource pressures were driving high vacancy rates in some adult care departments.
➔ See Resource Fears, p14