This is in part because of the ongoing drive to free up acute NHS beds, with people discharged having more complex needs, which means they require larger care packages. Ongoing impacts from the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as well-document financial and workforce pressures remain, the survey finds.
However, local authorities have succeeded in bringing down waiting lists for adult social care assessments, reducing numbers from a high of 542,000 in April 2022 to 430,000 at the end of March 2023.
This has been achieved through a mixture of transformation of local services, such as greater digitisation, and investment as a result of the government re-prioritising funding earmarked for now postponed reforms in social care towards frontline services, as the County Councils Network (CCN) had advocated.
Below, CCN responds to this year’s ADASS survey.
Cllr Martin Tett, Adult Social Care Spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said:
“This year’s report from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) again shows an adult social care system under significant pressure, particularly from people discharged from hospital who have complex health and support needs. It also highlights workforce and financial issues within the system, which have been long-running challenges.
“The study does, however, highlight the art of the possible when local government is given the financial backing it requires. Whilst waiting lists for care assessments are still stubbornly high, councils have worked hard to reduce the total waiting list by over 100,000 people since April last year by digitalising and investing in services. The County Councils Network (CCN) had called on the government to re-prioritise funding for its delayed reforms into frontline services last Autumn, and we are pleased that this is having an impact.
“Looking further ahead, it is clear that short-term funding boosts are not a panacea to solving all the issues within the care system, despite some successes this year. This government has set out an ambitious roadmap for reform that encompasses changes to charging thresholds, workforce, and greater digitalisation, but the next government must fully-fund this package to ensure its success.”