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Almost 400,000 people on social care waiting lists amid warnings of a ‘rapidly deteriorating’

More than 1.5 million hours of commissioned home care could not be provided between August and October due to lack of capacity

Hundreds of thousands of people are still waiting for a social care assessment or service, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has warned.

A new study reveals that around 204,241 people are yet to have their social care needs assessed, while another 25,468 are thought to be waiting for care or a direct payment so they can organise their care.

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The ADASS found that of those waiting for an initial assessment, more than 40,000 have been waiting longer than half a year.

The bleak findings follow already high criticisms over the Government’s social care plans.

What was the study?

The ADASS took a snap survey between 2 and 18 November and it was responded to by more than half of directors in England.

These responses on demand and provision across areas of England were then averaged and concluded to give a national estimate.

What else did the study find?

The study found there has been an increase in the number of hours of care provide to people at home from August to October, however, the growth is not keeping up with the high demand.

It also found that almost half of councils reported care home closures or providers going out of business in the past six months.

This is up from 35% in the summer, and 25% before the pandemic.

What has the ADASS said?

ADASS president Stephen Chandler said: “This survey confirms our worst fears. Red lights are flashing right across our dashboard.

“Despite magnificent efforts by the committed, courageous and compassionate people working in social care who are delivering extraordinary amounts of care and support, services are failing to meet everyone’s needs and older and disabled people are suffering.”

The ADASS is calling on the Government to commit to a £1,000 retention bonus to reduce the amount of carers quitting to work in sectors with better pay and hours.

It also wants £1.5 billion invested immediately to stop the collapse of services, and the same amount to support unpaid carers.

Mr. Chandler added: “The Government must now acknowledge the scale of the crisis and step in with emergency funding and measures to ensure we can get through the winter ahead.”

Staff are quitting “every day” to work in other sectors such as retail and hospitality, leaving managers having to step in as they struggle to recruit, Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), said.

Dr Hughes warned hat the “skeletal staffing” is removing support that is essential for disabled people and is resulting in more pressure on the NHS.

He said: “The erosion of support for people who draw on social care services is happening locally, in people’s homes and out of sight.

“There is no headline grabbing ‘crash’ but the realities of Government’s under-funding of social care is having profound consequences on the quality of life for disabled people.”

Councillor David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, commented on the figures from the study which “are a stark reminder of the immense scale of the challenge facing people in need or in receipt of adult social care and those who work with them.”

What is the Government’s response?

A Government spokesman said: “We are committed to delivering world-leading social care, that’s why we are investing an additional £5.4 billion over three years, which will allow us to build our comprehensive adult social care reform programme.

“Care homes and home care providers are already benefiting from the new £162.5million workforce retention and recruitment fund to assist local authorities and care providers in working together to ease workforce pressures in a variety of ways.”

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