Last week, London Councils called for eight actions on adult social care within their State of Adult Social Care in London report. This week on the blog, Councillor Ray Puddifoot talks us through adult social care in London – both the successes achieved and the challenges ahead…
London local government is proud of the role our adult social care services play in supporting Londoners. As London Councils’ recent report on the State of Adult Social Care in London makes clear, the sector has achieved significant successes in recent years – but there are also major concerns about future provision.
On the positive side, London is among England’s top-performing regions when it comes to providing care in people’s homes and helping them avoid unnecessary hospital stays. We’ve calculated that boroughs saved the NHS around £4.6 million a year through reducing delayed transfers of care, meaning hospital beds are freed up and considerable costs to the health service avoided. Investment in adult social care pays dividends for the wider public sector, as well as leading to improved experiences of care.
Boroughs have also achieved substantial efficiencies. Adult social care services have delivered £480 million of cost-saving efficiencies since 2015 – even while supporting an increasing number of service users. For example, many boroughs have focused on supporting service users to stay in their own homes, which has led to the capital reducing costs by having the lowest rates of admission to nursing and residential homes of any region in England.
In an era of fast-rising demand for care, an ambitious personalisation agenda, and tight finance constraints, London’s adult social care sector has adapted well.
However, there are still areas we need to work with the government to resolve.
The core issue is funding. The national funding made available for local care services isn’t keeping pace with the number of people needing care.
Although London’s population is younger than the national average, the capital is home to a higher proportion of working age people who require social care – including Londoners with impaired mobility and learning disabilities. Meanwhile, the number of Londoners aged 65 and older is increasing. In fact, numbers are set to grow 71% by 2039, which is a faster rate than any other region.
London Councils estimates that – considering these demographic trends and other cost pressures – the funding shortfall for adult social care in the capital will reach £540 million by 2025.
This is, of course, a challenge for the whole country. The Local Government Association expects a national funding shortfall of £3.5 billion for adult social care in the same period.
But there are grounds for optimism. The government has recognised the widespread concern over adult social care funding and the need for a new national approach.
London boroughs have been pressing this case and are keen to help formulate a long-term, sustainable solution. We look forward to participating in that process and ensuring that Londoners get the high-quality adult social care they deserve.
For more information on making London’s health services more Age-friendly, head to our website.