A therapist listens to the patient's complaints, fills out a medical form, and provides home care

Social care ‘continues to stagnate’

Through the publication of its annual report into social care, The King’s Fund has outlined how adult social care support is struggling due to a lack of action from the government.

The report has found that requests for adult services have hit a record high of two million, with all signs pointing to the fact that the social care system is under intense pressure. Despite this, financial thresholds for help with care costs have not changed since 2010/11, whilst the costs for local authorities to purchase case is increasing faster than inflation.

Other trends that the report outline include the fact that the social care workforce vacancy rate is still at its second highest ever level, despite approximately 70,000 overseas workers arriving, as well as there being almost 20,000 fewer unpaid carers being given direct support than in 2015/16. Over the course of the same period, there are also 21,000 fewer people receiving respite care.

With the publication of this report, the King’s Fund has recommended that the government needs to increase funding to ensure that care providers can attract, retain and train more staff and the social care system can begin to be repaired. Reforms have also been recommended, with these aiming to make the system fairer and improve the quality of care for users and their carers.

King's Fund social care quote

Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, Simon Bottery, said:

“For decades social care reform has been promised by governments but consistently dodged or delayed. The latest figures make clear that the sector is showing little sign of improvement, leaving thousands of people without the support they need.

“There are severe financial pressures on local authorities, who fund adult social care, and no sign that national government will step in to help. Nor is there a credible longer-term plan to recruit and retain the staff needed.

“At a time when adult social care has never faced more profound problems, with record numbers of people requesting support, this is surely the time for the next government, whatever colour it may be, to make social care a priority.”

The Local Government Association has responded to the report, with adult social care spokesperson Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz saying:

“This important annual report highlights the perilous state of adult social care. It is disappointing and concerning that the Budget provided no new money for these under pressure services, despite an increased demand for them.

“We need to see further urgent investment in adult social care and a boost to the workforce, to ensure the best possible care for those that draw on it.”


Image credit: iStock


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