A new report, ‘A red flag for the future of social care’, has suggested the financial pressures crippling the social care sector could start to directly impact the vulnerable adults it supports.
The independent research, commissioned by Hft, a national charity who support adults with learning disabilities, found that last year alone 59% of providers had been forced to close down some parts of their organisation or hand back contracts to local authorities as a means of dealing with cost pressures.
It was also found 68% saw themselves have to do the same ‘in the near future’ while 11% foresaw a reduction in the quality of care if their financial situation did not improve – which suggests vulnerable adults supported by the sector may soon start to be directly affected by the funding pressures.
The research also found recruitment remains difficult with 80% of providers reporting low wages is the biggest barrier to recruitment and retaining staff.
Billy Davis, Public Affairs and Policy Manager for Hft, said: “This year’s sector pulse check is a red flag for the future of social care. With repeated calls for a sustainable funding solution going unheeded, we are now seeking the true cost of government inaction on providers.
“More than half of providers have reported needing to hand back financially unsustainable contracts in the past year. This is culturally at odds with how many providers in the sector operate, particularly with individuals who may have been supported by a providers for much of their adult lives.
“68% of providers are also warning that they will need to hand back further contracts in the near future. It is deeply worrying, if not surprising that our report concludes that, for the first time, providers are warning that it will not be long before these financial pressures may soon start to be felt by those vulnerable adults support by the sector, as disruptions to the continuity of care they receive becomes more commonplace.”
Hft is now calling for the Department for Health and Social Care to publish its long overdue social care green paper as a matter of urgency and not allow this critical issue to be placed aside during the Brexit debate.