Social care at breaking point in England after ‘lost decade’

A paper from the University of Birmingham has highlighted how policymakers’ failure to tackle chronically underfunded social care has resulted in a “lost decade” and a system now at breaking point.

A team led by Jon Glasby, a professor of health and social care at the University of Birmingham, says that without swift government intervention including urgent funding changes England’s adult social care system could quickly become unsustainable.

The paper says the impact has been particularly felt in services for older people. Those for working-age people have been affected much less. It suggests that despite the legitimate needs of other groups “it is hard to interpret this other than as the product of ageist attitudes and assumptions about the role and needs of older people”.

The paper says local authority spending on adult social care increased in real terms until 2011, but has since declined despite increases in need and demand. Gross spending fell by 8% between 2009-10 and 2015-16. Spending on nursing care for older people in 2018 was only about £4.5bn, against a projected spending need of £7bn, it says.

Full report in The Guardian, 9 August 2020 and full report here