More than six in 10 councils say they are only able to respond in certain cases as waiting lists soar by 72 per cent
The number of people awaiting an adult welfare assessment, a direct payment to start with, or a review of their care increased from 294,000 to 506,301 last year — a 72 percent increase.
More than half a million adults are now on social care waiting lists as people struggle to access essential services due to severe staffing shortages, according to “grim” new research.
New survey results from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) show that six in 10 councils (61 percent) said they need to prioritize reviews.
Affected local authorities said they were only able to respond to people where abuse or neglect is highlighted for discharge from hospital or after temporary inpatient care.
Almost 170,000 hours per week of home care could not be provided in the first three months of 2022 due to a shortage of nursing staff waiting for care report found.
ADASS said this was a “dramatic seven-fold increase” since spring 2021.
The growing number of people in need of care and the increasing complexity of their needs far exceed the capacity to meet them, she added.
ADASS said by placing acute hospitals at the center of resources without addressing home care and support, it meant people would deteriorate and need even more hospital care.
Additional investment from the new Health and Social Care Levy, which came into force last month, means the Government will invest £5.4bn over three years to reform adult social care in England.
The figure includes £3.6bn to reform the social care charging system and allow all local authorities to pay providers a fair cost of care. IT also includes a further £1.7bn to kickstart “major improvements” across the sector.
ADASS President Sarah McClinton said: “We have not seen the post-pandemic services recovery in the way we had hoped. In fact, the situation is getting worse rather than better. Social welfare is far from fixed.
“Health and social care reforms do address some of the issues of how much people contribute to the cost of their care, but fall short to address the most pressing social care issues: how we are addressing the rapidly growing unmet need respond to essential care and support and resolve the workforce crisis through appropriate assessment of care professionals.”
In the government’s latest white paper, ministers have pledged a further £573m a year to the Disability Facilities Grant between 2022/23 and 2024/25 to help low-income people adapt their homes to enable them to gain independence in regular housing can preserve.
However, experts are skeptical that all the new measures will be enough to clear the backlog.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director, said: “These new figures are bleak reading and behind them are real older and disabled people whose lives are sadly impacted by a lack of basic support.
“They are stressing how desperate the social welfare situation is at the moment due to a lack of money and staff, so I hope ministers will stop trying to claim that they have ‘welfare in place’.
“It would be fantastic if they had that, but unfortunately there is a lot more for them to do. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled people have to put up with ailing service, with more than half a million unable to even get to first base with an initial assessment.”
Ms Abrahams said that since the government’s reforms relate only to how much financial support people receive for their care, they will do nothing to expand the help available or to improve its quality and reliability.
“And what many older people and their families are telling us is what worries them the most. After all, what’s the use of knowing you won’t face unlimited bills for your care if there’s no one to even provide it for you?” she said.
“The Government deserves great credit for making a commitment to improving welfare after all of their recent predecessors chose to look the other way. However, ministers risk exaggerating and not delivering on their promises, as this recent ADASS survey shows only too well.
“It is an extremely miserable situation for many older and disabled people, as well as for all the dedicated people working in social care, alongside community officers who know they have no chance of meeting the needs locally cover.”
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “We are deeply concerned by these latest findings. Unpaid caregivers are fracturing, exhausted after more than two years of care with little or no outside support.
“The impact on a welfare system that was already on the brink of collapse before the pandemic put even more pressure on even more families sustaining a chronic lack of services.”
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are committed to providing suitable housing for the elderly and our white paper sets out an ambitious 10-year vision for adult social care – to ensure people have choice , have control and support They need to lead independent lives, have access to superior quality and tailored care and support, and find adult social care fair and accessible.”