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Social care spending fell while dementia cases rose

Boost social and health spending, charities urge

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 15 June 2018

Spending on adult social care in England fell by 8% in real terms, according to new figures.

This is the finding revealed in a new report published today by the Richmond Group, a coalition of 14 major health and social charities across the UK. The group says their report highlights the need for “significant funding into the NHS, social care and public health” if they are to be sustainable, and it calls on the government to increase spending in these areas.

The report titled, Destined to ‘sink or swim together’: NHS, social care and public health, found that providing funding to one service in isolation would not sustain the others, leaving them vulnerable to collapse if they all aren’t funded correctly.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Spending on adult social care in England fell by 8% in real terms between 2009/10 and 2016/17.
  • Taking into account population growth alone, spending per adult fell by 13.5% over this period.
  • The 2015 Spending Review announced cuts to public health funding of nearly 4% a year. By 2020 this will reduce real terms spending by at least £600 million a year. This is on top of the £200 million cut in year from the 2015/16 budget allocation.
  • Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, NHS spending grew at one of the lowest rates in its history at 1.1% a year, followed by a below average 2.3% up to 2016/17. Taking into account population growth, per capita spending has increased by just 0.6% a year over the whole period since 2009/10.
Commenting, Sally Copley, director of Policy Campaigns and Partnerships at Alzheimer’s Society, a member of the Richmond Group, said: “The stark revelation that spending on adult social care has fallen, while the number of people with dementia has continued to rise, explains why people with dementia have been left out in the cold. People with dementia are the biggest users of social care - the social care crisis is a dementia crisis. Calls to our helpline tell harrowing tales of people forced to choose between a hot meal and a wash, and left to shoulder crippling care costs sometimes as high as £500,000.

“An integrated health and social care system would protect people affected by dementia from these devastating costs whilst delivering a service that better meets their needs. But more funding is urgently needed to make this a reality.

“It’s high time the government puts an end to the countless stories of care fees leaving families with next to nothing. With social care reform just around the corner they must work out how to deliver high quality social care to everyone with dementia who needs it, and at a fair price – or the system will collapse and people with dementia will continue to suffer.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We know the social care system is under pressure – that's why we've provided access to £9.4 billion of additional funding over three years. The prime minister and Health and Social Care secretary have committed to a long-term plan with a sustainable multi-year settlement for the NHS to help it manage growing patient demand, which will be agreed with NHS leaders, clinicians, and health experts.

“We will shortly set out our plans to reform the social care system to ensure it’s sustainable for the future, including how to fund it and how to achieve closer integration of health and social care to support efforts to keep people healthy and out of hospital.”

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