New analysis from the King’s Fund shows that rising disability among working-age adults and a growth in the number of people over 65 is putting rising pressure on the adult social care system in England, with more people requesting care but fewer people receiving it.
The King’s Fund analysis shows that the proportion of working-age adults approaching local authorities for support has risen by 4 per cent – over 23,000 people – since 2015/16. At the same time, England’s increasing older population is fuelling greater demand for services. Together, this has led to over 1.8 million requests for adult social care, up 2 per cent since 2015/16. However, nearly 13,000 fewer people are receiving support and real-terms local authority spending on social care is £700 million below what it was in 2010/11. The figures are presented in ‘Social care 360’, which brings together, for the first time, analysis of data from all major, publicly available data sources to provide a comprehensive overview of the adult social care system in England.
The new analysis finds that 18 per cent of working-age people now report a disability, up from 15 per cent in 2010/11. The proportion of disabled working age adults reporting mental health conditions has
increased significantly from 24 per cent to 36 per cent in the last 5 years.
This rise is mirrored by an increase in the number of working-age adults claiming disability benefits in recent years. Whilst more older people are also approaching their councils for support, fuelled by an increase in the numbers of older people in the population, the proportion of over-65s getting long-term social care from their local council has fallen by 6 percent. The Kings Fund report suggests this is partly due to a freeze since 2010/11 in the amount of assets people can hold and still be eligible for state-funded care. Unmet need among older people remains high, with 22 per cent saying they needed support but did not get it.
The report also identified that the amount it costs councils to pay for care per week is increasing. The average per week cost of residential and nursing care for an older person now stands at £615, a real-terms increase of 6.6 per cent since 2015/16. At the same time the numbers of nursing and residential care beds available for people aged over 75 has fallen from 11.3 per 1,000 to 10.1 per 1,000 since 2012. The sector also carries around an 8 per cent vacancy rate for jobs and whilst care jobs have gone up to a workforce number of 1.6 million strikingly 390,000 staff leave their jobs each year. In spite of these challenges 90 per cent of social care users said they were either extremely or quite satisfied with their care.
Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund and lead author of the report, said, “The Social Care Green Paper, which still has no release date over two years after it was announced, is an opportunity to set out the fundamental reform we desperately need. But while the green paper is delayed, the government must focus on what it can do to support people now. Putting more money into the system in this autumn’s Spending Review would help people to get the help they need while longer-term reform takes effect.”
The full report can be downloaded at https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/ and search for ‘Social Care 360’ The APSE Social Care Forum takes place in Oxford on Tuesday 18 June. To book for this event contact Shami Scholes on firstname.lastname@example.org