Heads of adult social services have renewed calls for changes in the balance of funding between the health and social care services to improve provision for older people whether they are living in their own homes or in residential or nursing homes. The Association of Directors of Social Services said cash-strapped social care budgets were being increasingly exposed.
ADASS is calling on the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, to take a second look at this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review to see if new money or funding generated from current NHS acute services can be found to tackle the problem.
ADASS Vice President, John Dixon, said former social services departments and the emerging adult social services departments had proved themselves up to making the efficiency savings that had been demanded of them by government. “We are going ahead creatively blending our new, wider local authority services with our core social care tasks. We are also taking a strong lead on personalisation of services, including the introduction of Individual Budgets, but none of this will compensate for the consequences of the demographic changes we are facing,” he said.
Mr. Dixon said all the pointers suggested that these changes would see the numbers of older people continuing to increase. In some cases older people would also have greater complexities of need and if there were no new resources local authorities would inevitably have to raise the thresholds at which people would become eligible for care services.
“With ever quicker throughputs of hospital patients, solutions which would see NHS resources following older people as they leave hospital and return to their communities would go a long way towards easing the pressures,” Mr. Dixon said. Social and health care together provided a single bridge between individuals and broader wellbeing and if one side of the bridge deteriorated then the whole would be uncrossable. “Once part of the fabric of a whole system wears thin, the complete edifice is in danger of collapsing,” he added.