“Care in Crisis 2014“, the third edition of their Care in Crisis report was published by Age UK last week. This is the first update since the 2012 report and and contains the details of funding for social care in the UK.
Age UK say that the Care Bill which is currently progressing though Parliament and has just completed all its stages in the House of Commons, has addressed some of the concerns about the framework for care and support for older people. Also, the government’s commitment to transfer £3.8 billion from the NHS (Better Care Fund) for joint NHS and local council decisions about funding for health and care services from 2015 is seen as a positive move.
However this funding can only mitigate and not solve the huge reduction in the availability of services caused by a combination of the recent real term cuts in spending and the increase in demand due to demographics. Between 2005/6 and 2010/11 public funding for older people’s social care stagnated and from 2010/11 to 2013/14 public funding for older people’s social care (including transfers from the NHS to councils) decreased by 10 per cent in real terms according to the government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre. This reduction in spending in the face of increasing demand has meant that more and more councils are only providing care for those in substantial or critical need.
Without substantial growth in the overall funding envelope, says Age UK, the Government’s aspirations to “transform the social care system to focus on prevention and the needs and goals of people requiring care” cannot be achieved.
This well researched report has some excellent data and an analysis of future funding requirements which would be invaluable for anyone trying to understand the current state of the UK care scene.