Christie & Co, a specialist business property, has released its fourth annual report on adult social care highlighting the sector’s continued funding and staffing challenges, as well as the causes and impacts of winter 2017/18.
The report, Adult Social Care 2018: Funding, Staffing and the Winter Crisis, gathered data from local authorities and over 200 leading operators across elderly and specialist care in the UK. The company looked at the use of agency staff, cost and fees, and how the Government’s additional funding has been used.
Since the publication of the last report, there has been a 13% drop in total nursing registrations with continuing uncertainty over Brexit – which has had a material impact on EU nursing registrations.
Both operator and local authority surveys showed an increase of fees, with agency staff becoming more expensive. The report said: “In specialist care, agency usage has gone up marginally whilst overall agency costs have fallen, indicating that agency staff are being used for lower paid support staff roles in specialist care, as opposed to more expensive, trained nursing staff.”
The surveys explained the need for sustainable funding and a joint approach between the NHS and Adult Social Care to commissioning was reinforced by pressures from the winter of 2017/18. Due to extreme weather, 24 NHS trusts reported a ‘Code Black’ and NHS England issued a directive to cancel all non-urgent operations.
The report found at least half of the trusts that went in a ‘Code Black’ state were in areas with the highest levels of delayed discharges and a high density of people aged 65 or above.
Michael Hodges, head of consultancy – care at Christie & Co said: “As we await the Government Green paper, our 2018 research shows that once again the most critical issues revolve around funding and workforce related themes with further complications related to the uncertainty connected with Brexit.
The pressures placed on the healthcare system by the winter of 2017 and the increasing age of the UK population illustrate the need for additional capacity, which can only be met by a comprehensive suite of policies associated with the key theme identified by our research.”