Care homes have been less affected than home care by financial pressures over the past year, according to latest feedback from councils.
In the 16th annual budget survey from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care (ADASS), six fewer councils reported care home closures in 2018-19, compared to the 58 councils which reported closures a year earlier. In total, the closures affected 1,173 people, a reduction of 922 people compared to 2017-18. A total of 12 councils had contracts handed back by providers, impacting 310 people, up from 292 people in 2017/18 (+6%).
This compares to a 50 per cent increase in the number of councils experiencing home care closures – up from 48 in 2017-18 to 72 in 2018-19. These closures impacted 7,019 peoplein 2018-19, up from 3,290 in 2017-18 (+113 per cent). Home care contracts were handed back to 38 councils, impacting 3,464 people, up from 2,664 people in 2017/18 (+30%).
In the report, 74 per cent of councils said they were pessimistic about social care, up from 71 per cent last year. Concerns centre on the increasing need for, and unit cost of services for younger adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues, and short term funding solutions.
ADASS president Julie Ogley said there was a serious risk that some authorities will start decommissioning services in the autumn due to a lack of clarity on the continuation of key funding streams. Some £700 million in savings are planned to adult social care budgets in 2019-20 and only 35 per cent of DASSs are fully confident that budgets will be sufficient to meet all of their statutory duties in 2019-20, particularly relating to care market sustainability.
She said: “Since the beginning of the decade, adult social care directors in councils across England have had to make a staggering £7 billion of savings, and need to find a further £700 million for 2019-20, just as demand and needs are rising. Lack of certainty from government about continued funding for adult social care from April 2020 onwards, including the Better Care Fund and Improved Better Care Fund which provides more than £5 billion, will force Directors of Adult Social Services and their councils to make incredibly difficult decisions.
“These could include giving notice to providers, such as care homes and home care services, unless we urgent clarity is received on future funding by September this year.”