A new report by the public accounts committee (PAC) has criticised the government’s long-term funding plans for adult social care in England, and also the failure to tackle the recruitment crisis within the sector. The Guardian reports that there is currently a 9.9 per cent vacancy rate, which is the highest figure for ten years. 

According to the Nuffield Trust, there has been an 8 per cent increase in the number of people aged over 65 years between 2015/16 and 2021/22, and this figure is expected to rise to around one in four people by 2050. This means that there will be an increase in demand for domestic care and for residential and nursing home care places.

Despite this, there is a downward trend in the number of registrations for new care homes, and it is not equal to the rate that they are closing. The number of beds in nursing homes and residential care homes has declined from 11.3 per 100 people in 2012 to 9.4 per 100 people in 2022.

Care homes are categorised as either residential or nursing homes, depending on the services that they provide. Residential care homes provide general personal care, such as help with washing, dressing, and taking medication. Nursing homes are for people who have more complex needs, and there is always a registered nurse on duty. 

Responding to the critical PAC report, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Policy Natasha Curry said: “The report points to a grim picture of delays and downgraded ambition without a roadmap or the leadership needed to demonstrate how the laudable vision to improve the broken social care sector, set out in 2021, will be achieved.”

She added: “Unpredictable and sporadic funding continues to undermine the sector’s ability to plan for the long term and this ability has been further eroded as new pots of money initially earmarked for reform have been repeatedly diverted to propping up a system struggling to keep pace with inflationary pressures.”

A spokesperson for DHSC said: “We are committed to reforming adult social care and have invested up to an additional £8.6bn over two years to meet the pressures facing the sector, grow the workforce and improve hospital discharge.”

“The report rightly acknowledges progress to boost care workers’ career progression and training to improve retention, including through a new accredited qualification.”

“To drive forward our vision for reform, we are also investing up to £700m on a major transformation of the adult social care system, which includes investing in technology and adapting people’s homes to allow them to live independently.”

The PAC report raised further concerns that the £86,000 per person cap on care costs that has been pencilled in for October 2025 will be pushed further down the road. 

2024-04-02T16:08:27+00:00March 31st, 2024|Business News|
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