Today’s Age UK Care in Crisis 2012 report leaves no-one in any doubt about the scale of the financial challenge facing adult social care services. It finds that that this year’s spending on older people’s social care in England has fallen by £500 million.
Age UK project that by 2012-2013 the government would need to spend £1 billion more than this year to stop the situation getting any worse. In the absence of additional funding from central government, councils will need to embark on a radical programme of reform to meet this challenge. The LGiU’s Local Health Network has been looking at some possible responses.
Based on a tour of council leaders, conducted in partnership with Age UK, LGiU Chief Executive Andy Sawford identified very different approaches from councils around the country to meeting this challenge. Responses ranged from a complete withdrawal from service provision to substantial investment in council-run early intervention.
Improving preventative services will, however, be a priority for most councils. Gary Wright from Essex Cares argued that prevention, funded where possible by residents, is the key to reducing spend on care. Essex Cares have found that older people will often chose to access and indeed invest in preventative services when given the chance to do so. Easy to understand and access services, that make sense on the ground, are the key to unlocking people’s capacity to improve their own health.
Similarly, in a report we published last year, LGiU found that increasing support for self-funders and making services easier to understand and access could help councils avoid the estimated £500 million to £1 billion cost of self-funders exhausting their own resources and falling back on state care. You can find out more by reading the full report here.