The Blog

Fractured Care System In Need Of A Remedy

Later this month our new Chancellor gets the first chance to detail the government's financial plans, and there will be millions of people looking to see if social care is included. We hope that huge funding gap in social care is addressed.

Social care is big news. That doesn't happen often.

This week, doctors, the CQC, MPs, charities, councils, think tanks and the NHS Confederation have all raised the alarm about underfunding and the critical state of the social care system.

A report, by the Commons Health Select Committee, warns that unless the shortfall in social care provision is addressed, pressure will mount on A&Es and the wider NHS system when discharge from hospital is delayed.

Councils say that this year, directors are left with a gap to fill of around £940 million just to keep services operating at last year's levels.

Social care isn't a luxury

It's the essential support many disabled people rely on to get up, get dressed, get out and to live independently. We've heard from disabled people who have had to sleep, fully-clothed, in their wheelchairs others who have gone 14 hours without access to a toilet. This is unacceptable.

This week an investigation found relatives are being banned from visiting care homes for speaking up for family members when their care fell short. Separate research found that 48% of disabled adults who need social care don't receive any support at all, and half of those who say they do not receive enough social care say this means they are unable to work.

Take a moment and think about the opportunities - to have a career, to go on a date, or just meet a few friends in the pub - that disabled people miss.

The squeeze in social care is also being felt by young disabled adults, Scope's own research found that the future of many young disabled adults is being compromised by inadequate care support as 60% told us they feel let down by their social care provision.

Tom* is 25 and a freelance writer. He has ME and a neurological condition which triggers seizures. Because of his conditions he is unable to go out alone, so can go for long periods without leaving the house.

Last year, when his relationship ended Tom and moved to live independently for the first time. But without the additional support he was unable to leave his house for weeks. He referred himself to social services to get a support worker so he could leave the house. They sent him carers instead, but when that didn't work out they did provide a support worker. He was then hit with a bill that he could not afford and soon had to stop using his carer.

Tom now spends most of his time in her bed. If he has a good day and wants to go out he has to pay a friend to take him out. He does his socialising on his phone and computer. He can go weeks without seeing any friends.

What can we do?

This situation has been going on long enough. Reports and warnings come out year after year.

The Government will rightly point that they've given councils the chance to raise more money to spend on social care. The council tax precept, as it's known, allows them to add an additional 2% to council tax. It's recognition that the system desperately needs more cash, but it more than gets swallowed up by inflation, and the cost of paying the National Living Wage.

Later this month - 23rd November - our new Chancellor gets the first chance to detail the government's financial plans, and there will be millions of people looking to see if social care is included.

We hope that huge funding gap in social care is addressed so that Tom, and so many others, get the support they need to live their lives independently.

*Names have been changed.

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