Social care crisis: series of newspaper comments

David Smallacombe recently shared the articles below, compiled by Care England, all highlighting the plight of the social care sector. David's message to members is:

"The only way you can be sure your voice will be heard is to constantly push, cajole and persuade your local Councillors and Members of Parliament (MP’s) to make significant changes in the care sector. Go to the Town Hall to lobby elected members during the public meetings of the Scrutiny Committee, get a meeting with your local Director of Adult Social Services, attend the MP’s regular surgery’s, write to Theresa May, Jeremy Corbin and other party leaders. Tell them what trying to run a care business is like on a day to day basis, explain to them (you know they don’t know) that unless they act urgently to fill the funding gap (put up income or other taxes for e.g.) local and central government will find itself having to provide and/or develop care settings for vulnerable people to live in because they have lost their homes as a result of the Care Business they once lived in has collapsed. Make yourself a “nice” and reasoned nuisance --- educate those who have influence to do what they know they will have to ---- but get them to do it sooner!!"

Why won’t ministers acknowledge social care's growing emergency?
How close to the brink is the social care system? In the severest warning yet that it is fast becoming unsustainable, council leaders will on Wednesday warn that their ability to support older and disabled people is “veering steadily towards the impossible”. The picture in children’s services is no better. The body representing directors of those services reports that their ability to make any impact at all on the lives of 4 million children living below the poverty line is increasingly constrained by relentless funding cuts. As leaders of both children’s and adult services in England meet this week in Bournemouth for their annual joint conference, they will reflect ruefully on the deafening silence from last week’s Conservative party gathering in terms of any relevant policy or funding initiative. Most alarming for the adult sector was the complete absence from the prime minister’s ill-fated conference address of any reference to the system reform that had been flagged in the party’s general election manifesto, promising “dignity and protection in old age”.
The Guardian
 
Social care crisis consultation postponed by government
The government is rumoured to have put on hold its consultation on social care funding until next summer, and the previous Tory government’s pledge to introduce a cap on care home fees by 2020 has been abandoned.  A social care funding crisis looms large as the population of the UK is ageing: By 2040, nearly one in four people in the UK will be aged over 65, according to a recent Age UK report. But the country has little money set aside for elderly care, at either the state or the individual level.  While the next 18 months may be full of Brexit-related matters, retirement experts say that the government should not delay consulting on the crucially important matter of social care funding, which will impact families for decades to come.  Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, says: ‘Social care for the elderly and how it should be paid for will touch every family across the UK. The government promised in its manifesto to consult on social care funding, including introducing an overall cap on how much any individual would be expected to pay. 
Money Observer
 
ADASS president: ‘Adult social care reform must be a national priority’
With an eventful – but ultimately disappointing – Conservative Party conference out of the way, all eyes now rest on the chancellor’s autumn budget and the consultation on the future of adult social care that the government has promised. We hoped that Theresa May would use her key speech at the conference to announce further measures to help alleviate the significant and continuing pressures on adult social care, building on the welcome but short-term £2 billion of extra money announced in the spring. However, with apparently no new plans forthcoming, the sector will continue to highlight existing and emerging challenges it faces at the National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCASC) in Bournemouth this week (11-13 October). While councils continue to wait for – and call to bring forward – the government’s promised consultation on the future funding of adult social care, important issues based on efficiency, best practice and innovation will be discussed at NCASC as local authorities lead the way in self-improvement to help older and disabled people and their families in need of good quality, reliable and personal care. These include: creating carer-friendly communities; managing the impact of children’s services pressures on adult care services; the employment of people with care and support needs; tackling mental health, loneliness and modern slavery; prevention and safeguarding work; integrated commissioning to support the sustainability of the care market; transforming care through technology; and housing, health and care integration.
Community Care
 

Additional evidence from Care England can be found below:

Elderly care is 'close to crisis point' say council

The head of one of the North West’s biggest social services departments says he struggles to sleep at night because of cuts he's had to make to care for elderly people. Liverpool city council say they've had their adult social care budget cut by £50 million in the past 3 years. They say services are close to crisis point. Local authorities across the region now have an average of just £2.75 an hour to spend on care.

Councils ‘leveling down’ care packages after ILF closure

Report reveals more than half of local authorities in London have cut care packages since the closure of the Independent Living Fund in June last year. More than half of local authorities in London have cut service users’ care packages following the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), according to a report by Inclusion London. Four councils have reduced support for more than half of former ILF recipients, a finding the charity described as “suggestive of a systematic approach to ‘levelling down’ packages”. The findings come from a Freedom of Information request, which received responses from all 33 councils in London. The charity said the cuts affected 185 former ILF recipients across the capital – around one in six.
General NewsBarbara Harris