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Better Care Fund could destabilise services


2 July 2014

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Implementing the Better Care Fund will further destabilise adult social care services making them "unsustainable" in the future, managers believe.  
A survey of directors of adult social services budgets reveals that cash invested in services will reduce by a further 1.9% in 2014.15 – a sum equivalent to £266 million.  
Directors feel "gloomy about the future" warning that that the Better Care Fund plans – coupled with the Care Act reforms – could create "further significant instability".  

Implementing the Better Care Fund will further destabilise adult social care services making them "unsustainable" in the future, managers believe.  
A survey of directors of adult social services budgets reveals that cash invested in services will reduce by a further 1.9% in 2014.15 – a sum equivalent to £266 million.  
Directors feel "gloomy about the future" warning that that the Better Care Fund plans – coupled with the Care Act reforms – could create "further significant instability".  
The survey results, published by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) are based on returns from 95% of adult social services departments.  
They show: 
 – Nearly 50% of directors think that fewer people will be able to access care services.
 – An equal number believe that people will get smaller personal budgets. 
 – Over a half think care providers are facing financial difficulty.
 – Nearly 60% think there will be increasingly costly legal challenges.
David Pearson, ADASS´s president said: “This is the third year of continuing cash reductions and the fifth year of real terms reductions in spending. Since 2010 spending on social care has fallen by 12% at a time when the number of those looking for support has increased by 14%. This has forced departments to make savings of 26% in their budgets – the equivalent of £3.53 billion over the last four years Nothing can be starker than the truth these figures point to.  
“Our survey shows beyond doubt that we have reached the point where we are unable to absorb the pressures they, and our survey, have identified.  
"Directors are increasingly concerned about the impact on countless vulnerable people who will fail to receive, or not be able to afford, the social care services they need and deserve.”  
Richard Humphries, assistant director of policy at The King’s Fund said: "This survey once again highlights the enormous pressure on social care budgets. Despite the best efforts of local authorities, this will result in further cuts to services and fewer people receiving support.  
"Worryingly, half the money being transferred from the NHS budget to support better joint working between health and social care is now being spent on protecting social care services from budget cuts, rather than driving integrated care and other service changes needed to better meet the needs of patients and service-users."

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