Council care homes could be forced out of business if funding for care does not increase, according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass).
The president of the Association, David Pearson, warned that the growing demand for care coupled with a decreasing budget meant the care system is “unsustainable” in many parts of the country. In particular, it is feared that the privately-run care homes used by councils will not be able to sustain a high-quality level of care in the face of further cuts.
Mr Pearson said that councils have not increased the fees they pay to care providers for some years and in some cases the fees have been cut: “It is fair to say that fees, right across the country, have not gone up in four years overall and given the inflationary costs in the market that could be unsustainable. I think all the evidence leads to the conclusion that it is a system under considerable pressure with increasing needs, reducing resources and a need alongside this to make sure that people have the right quality and quantity of care”.
Adass say the number of people needing care has risen by 14% since 2010, while care budgets have dropped 12% during the same period. The number of people receiving state-funded care has dropped by over 250,000 in the last four years, with £10 billion spent on privately funded care, compared to £14 billion by councils.
The Department of Health is predicting a funding gap of £7 billion a year for adult social care by the end of the decade, and Mr Pearson warned that this will lead to more people being forced to pay for their own care in future: “There is a danger that in some parts of the country sustaining social care services as we have known them will become almost impossible”.
The CEO of the Good Care Group, Fiona Lowry, commented: “This is indeed an alarming conclusion reached by Adass. We understand that many people can be daunted by care costs, and so at Good Care Group, we can offer advice on home-care funding, and a range of care options to suit you. We will help you ensure that your loved one gets the quality care they need, in their own home.”