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The King's Fund responds to new figures from NHS Digital on adult social care

Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, responded to new figures from NHS Digital on adult social care in England

'These figures show a social care system struggling to cope with the increased pressures placed upon it, as councils battle with increasing need from older people and people with disabilities and inadequate levels of funding. 

'More people are asking for help but fewer people are getting it. Compared with 2015/16, 22,110 fewer older people are receiving long-term care, despite requests for support rising to 3,600 per day. At the same time, the cost to local authorities of providing care is going up, putting further pressure on already stretched budgets. Worryingly, the number of unpaid carers getting support is falling and less is being spent on providing this support. 

'These returns show a social care system that cannot continue to operate without fundamental reform. Successive governments have dodged tough decisions on funding and on the amount of care that is provided, leaving local authorities, community services and people’s friends and families to fill the gaps. The upcoming Green Paper and next week’s Budget are both essential opportunities to tackle these issues.'

The figures also reveal:

  • spending on care has increased but this has been driven by the increased care fees paid to providers, with the average residential care cost for over 65s now £605 compared to £565 last year
  • wide local variation in service provision and expenditure, with 50 local authorities reporting a decrease in gross current expenditure per 100,000 adults
  • despite pressure on councils to help reduce delayed transfers of care from hospitals, most demand continues to be from the community – over 3 in 4 requests for support, compared to 1 in 5 from hospital discharge. 

Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.

Vie wreport:  Local authorities receive 5,100 new requests for adult social care assistance a day

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