Councils have projected overspends of their adult social care budgets by almost half a billion pounds in first six months of the current financial year, a survey of directors has revealed.
The budget deficit is being worsened by pressures from the NHS, with 68% of directors reporting having discussions about reductions to continuing healthcare funding.
A further 51% said there was increasing demand on social care services because people with very high needs were not being admitted to hospital, and 56% reported that more social care staff were being expected to undertake healthcare duties.
The survey, carried out by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), received responses from 129 of 152 directors in England.
Immediate past president of ADASS Ray James said the impact of funding gaps on the lives of older and disabled people were both “significant and extremely worrying”.
He told delegates at the National Children and Adults Services Conference in Manchester the evidence that social care needed more funding was “irrefutable”.
“If that money is not forthcoming, the consequences for councils, for care providers and the NHS are deeply distressing, but most of all it places the wellbeing of over a million people currently receiving state-funded long-term social care and their carers at greater risk,” he said.
James also pointed to calls from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and NHS provider bodies that any new funding should go to social care.
“When the NHS says give the money to someone else, it says much about how bad things are for social care,” James said.
‘Wisdom and humility’
James also paid tribute to Harold Bodmer, who passed away suddenly in July this year, four months after succeeding James as ADASS president.
James said the organisation was determined to continue working on the priorities Bodmer had identified. These included building a long-term social movement for social care, which would aim to secure greater recognition and resources for the sector, as well as the development of a sustainable home care workforce.
James added that he and Bodmer had shared concerns about how the government’s reforms to social work would be developed.
“Every social worker recognises the right of others to make an unwise decision, yet they offer information and expertise to reduce the risk of harm that might otherwise ensue,” he said.
“I suggest to those involved in this Department for Education led work that it would be unwise not to more extensively seek early engagement across the profession.”
He ended his speech with a personal thanks to Bodmer “for enriching the world of social care”.
“Long may your wisdom, your humility, integrity and humanity be reflected in those of us that were fortunate enough to have known and worked with you,” James said.