The challenges facing Adult Social Care amongst practitioners are well known. However figures from the Local Government Association’s (LGA) green paper is worth repeating - the funding gap to maintain current care levels is projected to reach £3.56 billion a year by 2025.
The LGA’s pre-emptive Green Paper, released ahead of the Government’s expected publication in the Autumn, invites consultation regarding the current pressures facing Adult Social Care. The six main proposals for reform are:
- Pay Providers a fair price for care
- Make sure there is enough money to pay for inflation and the extra people who will need care
- Provide care for all older people who need it
- Provide care for all working age people who need it
- A top end cap on social care contributions, and a ‘more generous’ lower threshold for the same
- Free personal care at home.
Adult Social Care providers are increasingly put into difficult situations whereby residents’ needs do not render them eligible for local authority care and support, yet are at risk of a decline in living standards and health. These preventable cases are currently placing a significant burden on acute NHS services – the figure used by the LGA is the cost of falls to the NHS, both on admission to hospital and on further treatment is £2 billion per annum. With this specific example, intervention from social care to assess for any suitable equipment, check ups on individuals once or twice a day, and being on hand to assist with any difficult household tasks would reduce the risks of falls, the burden on hospitals, and the loss of independence associated with falls. An integrated early intervention model could also prevent the risk of self-neglect, as well as extending the remit of safeguarding adults who may not currently meet the eligible need criteria. It will be interesting to learn the Government’s approach on potential for further integration between Adult Social Care services and Health, and the prevention at an early stage of complex health needs developing.
The other key arm to the LGA’s paper is that Adult Social Care can no longer be sustainably funded solely by local authorities. According to their figures, the options which will raise enough capital to enact the proposals are 1% increases on Income tax and National Insurance contributions, as well as means testing certain benefits, such as the Winter fuel allowance and free TV licences for those over 75.
The reality of these proposals is that any funding settlement is likely to take significant time to materialise. Help is on the way for local government in the form of Mental Capacity Amendment Bill?, which, dependant on its progression through the Commons, will reform the Deprivation of Liberty process, to enable the rights of individuals to be safeguarded at a much reduced cost to the Local Authority.
In the meantime, ELS continues to represent excellent value in the provision of specialised health and social care advice for Local Authorities and NHS Bodies on all governance, regulatory and commercial matters. ELS can offer bespoke fee models to suit our clients and enable cost savings.
For more information please contact,
Legal Services Manager (Health, Social Care and Deputyship)
Paralegal (Health, Social Care and Deputyship)