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16 June, 2021 Open access

Survey of more than 90 councils in England shows sharply rising demand for social care as society begins opening up after Covid-19

Trend is ‘unsustainable’, and shows why the government must publish its plans for social care as a matter of urgency, says Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

A survey of more than 90 of England’s 152 councils has shown that they are facing sharply rising numbers of people requesting adult social care as society begins to open up after Covid-19, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has said.

In its Activity Survey 2021 - a snap annual survey of English local authority adult social services directors - ADASS reports that increased demand for adult social services reported in its last survey published in November 2020 has continued into 2021, with a significant proportion of the 91 directors that responded to the survey reporting unprecedented ongoing demands -

In addition, the survey highlights problems linked to the inter-dependence of social care and the NHS in the wider health and care system, with around half of responding directors (48 per cent) saying they are being asked to support more people while they wait for admission to hospital, and 75 per cent saying they are dealing with more people being discharged from hospital requiring help from their local council.

As a result, ADASS calls for the government to outline its long-awaited plans for social care reform before the summer parliamentary recess next month. It also calls for a long-term 10-year plan for social care in parallel with that for the NHS and a guarantee of medium-term funding to enable social care to deal with the rising need for care and support while reforms are put in place.

ADASS President Stephen Chandler said -

‘Some of the numbers we are seeing are phenomenal. The trends are unsustainable and show why the government must publish its plans for social care as a matter of urgency.

Our findings demonstrate very starkly that the crisis in social care is not just a crisis in the way we support older people. Half our spending is on help for adults of working age.

Adult social care has stepped up during the pandemic and is providing care and support both for many more people who have been unable to get admission to hospital and for many more who have been discharged. Without social care, the NHS would collapse.’

For more information, see ADASS Activity Survey Report.