Over half of providers polled in a survey say they will need to hand back contracts “in the near future”, if their financial situation does not improve
According to learning disability charity Hft, 45 per cent of a small sample of 77 providers admit they have handed back contracts to local authorities in the past year and a third have had to shed staff, as ways of dealing with financial pressures.
In its annual Sector Pulse Check report. the third to be published by Hft, 43 per cent of providers admitted they have reduced the quality of care they are able to provide.
Despite being the major area of growth in the sector, 76 per cent of providers say they find it harder to recruit in roles that require supporting somebody that displays behaviours that challenge. Around eight in ten say that retention is significantly harder in these services.
Commenting, Hft executive director Jacqui Roynon said: “With the political landscape dominated by Brexit and the first winter General Election since 1923, social care once again seems to have hovered at the bottom of the government’s priority list.
“Service closure is the last resort any provider can take. It cannot be right that [52 per cent of providers] warn they will need to do so in the near future.
“With wage levels due to increase to £8.72 p/h in April 2020, it is vital that providers are funded to continue to pay higher wages in a financially sustainable way. ”
The charity describes social care as “a sector out of options”.