The Family and Childcare Trust are pleased to release the Older People’s Care Survey 2016. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the availability of older people’s care, as well as the market awareness of local authorities and health and social care trusts across the UK. The findings highlight a number of key issues.
- Only one in five funding authorities reported having enough older people’s care in their area to meet demand. Over 6.4 million people aged 65 and over live in those areas with insufficient care provision.
- Just 7 per cent of councils in Outer London (one council) reported having enough care to meet demand in their area, while in the North East the figure is 57 per cent.
- While 84 per cent of respondents in the UK said they had enough availability for care home places, that figure falls to 48 per cent for home care, 44 per cent for extra care homes, and 32 per cent for nursing homes with specialist dementia support.
- 27 per cent of respondents reported having insufficient data about whether the supply of social care in their area could meet demand.
- 88 per cent of local authorities in London were able to say whether their supply met demand, compared with just half of local authorities in the East of England.
- The average weekly fee local authorities pay for all residential care types in the UK is £553.
- The average price in Inner London is 40 per cent more expensive than in the North West (£649 vs £464).
- Just 26 per cent of respondents were able to provide data on the rates that self-funders pay.
- UK averages show that self-funder fees for all residential types are 20 per cent more expensive than local authority fees.
- The Government should guarantee that there are enough care services available for people who need them. Where the private market is not meeting demand, local or central government should act as the provider of last resort.
- The Government should start an ongoing data tracking programme to measure whether there is enough social care for older people across the UK. A strong understanding of the local social care market is essential for central and local governments to be able to identify capacity issues and work to resolve them.
- The Government should provide local authorities with funding offers that are truly reflective of the higher cost of specialist services. Demand is likely to grow for specialist care as the population ages and people with high support needs live longer. As such, adequate funding from central government will allow local authorities to deal with current and future demand, as well as reducing pressure on NHS services. This funding settlement should be determined by robust evidence on the demand for social care services and cost of providing high quality care to meet this demand.
- The Government should provide funding to support upstream intervention services, such as domiciliary care, and extra care home schemes. These services can be effective in maintaining independence. Additionally, as they are more likely to slow the escalation of support needs, they may reduce market pressures in the long term. As the recent Barker Commission highlighted, there are still important opportunities to integrate health and social care funding to promote preventative care.
- The Government should provide workers with a mandatory right of up to 10 days of paid care leave per year. The challenge of balancing work and caring responsibilities can be financially and mentally stressful, and can cause carers to leave the workforce permanently. Paid care leave would enable carers to deal with emergencies, put necessary arrangements in place, and accompany those they care for to appointments, without using the annual leave necessary for their own wellbeing.
- Local Authorities should provide up to date information for families about social care in their area, including information on the cost of fees and third-party contributions. It is also important for older people and their families to have greater access to information about care in their area – what is available, and what people can expect to pay to support themselves or their relatives.
- In the long-term, the Government should seek to address the strategic challenge of reforming care and support funding. The Government is right to focus in the short-term on addressing immediate and unsustainable pressures on local authority social care budgets. The Government must, however, maintain its commitment to implementing the Care Act 2014 in full to support people to plan for, and meet the costs of, care in old age and protect people from unfair costs.