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Social care will stagnate without reform says report

Social care will stagnate without reform says report
By Beth Gault
13 March 2024

Adult social care  will continue to stagnate as it  faces ‘intense pressure’ due to  vacancy rates  and ‘record’ demand, according to a think tank report. 

The King’s Fund Social Care 360 report noted the workforce vacancy rate was at 152,000 in 2022/23. Though this is lower than in 2021/22 (165,000) it is likely to face further challenges given the government’s move to tighten the rules around overseas care workers, meaning they cannot bring dependents with them to the UK.

Demand for social care is also at a ‘record high’ of two million requests in 2022/23, according to the report. In 2021/22, this figure was 1.98 million.

Lead author and senior fellow, Simon Bottery, says: ‘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, ‘ he said calling upon the next government to make social care a priority given it  ‘has never faced more profound problems, with record numbers of people requesting support’.  

The cost of care to local authorities also continues to be above inflation with the average weekly fee for working-age adults and older people £1,540 and £840 respectively, compared to £1,400 and £670 in 2015/16. It did highlight that there was a slight increase in the number of adults receiving publicly funded social care in 2022/23 compared to the previous year, however the authors said this was likely due to a ‘correction’ after the Covid pandemic.

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