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Financial prospects for social care in 2016 ‘could not be worse’
The financial prospects for the care sector are at an all-time low, and set to plunge further, King’s Fund assistant director Richard Humphries has stated.
The news comes following analysis by the King’s Fund of recent legislation to allow councils to designate a 2% precept on council tax, in order to raise funds for social care and make up for the shortfall from central Government cuts.
The research found that, even if all councils engaged in full for the next four years, a shortfall of £2.8bn to £3.5bn would be evident by 2020.
Humphries believes that the move is tantamount to a full shift of adult social care costs from centralised to locally funded investment. This is likely to put further pressure on the families and loved ones of adults that require care, and will mean a skewing of care quality towards areas with greater economic wealth (unless a stopgap is put in place following Governmental consultation).
The lack of any major funding package before 2018 will put pressure on both residential and publicly funded homecare providers, according to Humphries, resulting in an incrementally increasing backlog of patients being stuck in hospital due to delays arranging care provision.
Despite warnings from charities and healthcare groups, public spending on social care is likely to fall below 1% of GDP by the end of the current Parliament, while the number of people deemed eligible for care has dropped by 25% since 2011.
Fiona Lowry, our CEO, commented: “With an ever-increasing elderly population, care provision should be a primary concern for this country, but the picture is increasingly concerning. Happily, the costs of top-quality live-in care are now comparable to those of residential care, so it is a really viable option for families seeking support for their loved ones, and has also been proven to have many health and happiness advantages over residential care. Our professional, highly-trained carers ensure that our clients get the help they need to increase their independence and maintain their quality of life for longer in their own homes.”