Nick Clarke, Head of Social Care Consulting, Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented:
“The biggest financial pressures most councils are currently facing are in relation to social care where structural demand and inflationary cost pressures show no sign of slowing down.
“This is already having a direct – and significant - impact on the NHS as some people cannot be discharged safely from hospital into residential or home care as there’s no capacity to provide the care needed. Which is, and will continue to, directly impact the NHS’ ability to reduce the backlog in surgeries, even with the additional funding announced today.
“The £4.8 billion funding to local government, and the recently announced Health and Social Care Levy, will help paper over the cracks for some councils for a while longer. But it will not transform social care and until the collective budgetary need of both the NHS and social care, together, is considered to meet the short and longer-term challenges they face – with a fully integrated approach to tackle those challenges, especially around prevention - nothing will.
“Ultimately, when their specific allocations are made, councils will still face tough decisions on how much to allocate to social care departments. With an ageing population, more complexity of need, staff and carers leaving the sector for better paid jobs, significant increases in safeguarding enquiries, inflation busting increases in care costs, the National Living Wage increase, more people with mental health needs, spiralling SEND spend and more children needing social care support and intervention, the list is nearly endless and the decisions unenviable. And the money will go very quickly."