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Social care funding scenarios depict bleak future

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By lealegraien@cogora.com
16 February 2018

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A report on social care funding scenarios has revealed a potentially bleak future for older people.

In their report, Approaches to social care funding, the Health Foundation and the King’s Fund (KF) looked at five different scenarios to fund social care for older people in England.

If all the alternative approaches would bring improvements in some ways, they would also fail to address significant issues, such as insufficient funding.

‘Inadequate funding’

A report on social care funding scenarios has revealed a potentially bleak future for older people.

In their report, Approaches to social care funding, the Health Foundation and the King’s Fund (KF) looked at five different scenarios to fund social care for older people in England.

If all the alternative approaches would bring improvements in some ways, they would also fail to address significant issues, such as insufficient funding.

‘Inadequate funding’

The report said that 'the current system for funding social care is inadequate'.

It read: ‘However, for such a widely disliked system it has proved remarkably difficult to reform and in practice will be with us for some time, even if the government decides on more radical reform.

‘The combination of poor understanding of the current system along with the potentially high implementation and political costs associated with wholesale reform has led repeated governments to tinker at the edges, find a little more money, and move the problem down the track for a few more years.’

Significant cuts

Social care has suffered significant cuts since 2010, amounting to £6.3bn according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).

In February 2018, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government Sajid Javid pledged that the Government would be injecting a further £150m in 2018/19 for an Adult Social Care Support Grant.

With an estimated annual social care funding gap of £2.3bn by 2020, Local Government Association (LGA) chairman Lord Porter said that this is a ‘temporary measure’, which is most likely to only tackle some of the immediate pressures faced by councils.

Two distinct systems

As opposed to the NHS, which is open to all and free at the point of use, social care is a heavily needs and means-tested service.

The King’s Fund (KF) said that there are ‘deeper inequities in entitlements between the NHS and social care, with an ‘NHS’ budget that has failed to keep up with the growing cost of caring for an aging population with increasingly complex health care needs’.

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the number of people aged 85 and over in England is set to double to 3.2 million over the next two decades.

With a growing demand and more complex conditions, ‘there is a widespread acceptance that the current system for funding social care is in need of reform’, said the Health Foundation.

The report can be found here.

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