A report from Care England about the finances and the workforce in adult social care, finds that the care sector in engulfed in a sustained state of crisis
The ‘Fair Cost of Care’ report, released on 16 January 2024, which was compiled with the help of 122 care providers across the UK, reveals that the care sector is rapidly heading towards the cliff edge.
The cost of living crisis and the 9.7 % increase in the national living wage combined with care providers only receiving a 3-4% increase in funding from local councils and the NHS will inevitably result in many closures.
The report stated.
- the majority (71%) of care providers surveyed for this year’s report were in deficit or experienced a decrease in their surplus in 2023.
- the Government’s ‘record investment’ is simply not reaching providers, with 84% stating that financial initiatives from government – such as the Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund and International Recruitment Fund – made no difference to their financial sustainability.
- the option to recruit staff internationally simply doesn’t apply and recruiting via this route may become increasingly difficult in light of changes to immigration rules announced in December 2023.
- the staff vacancy rates across adult social care remain sky-high.
- almost a fifth of providers offered care to fewer individuals, while two in five providers considered taking steps to close.
David McGuire, Chief Executive, Diagrama Foundation said, “The report concluded by saying ‘There is undoubtedly a great deal of goodwill and desire to see the challenges facing the sector addressed. As such, we call on the Government, both current and future, to invest the necessary resources and political capital to fundamentally reimagine how the money in the adult social care system can deliver its desired effect.’ The Diagrama Foundation team, who participated in the survey, back the findings and the recommendations of this Care England report.”
David McGuire, continued, “Budget and cost forecasts for each year is often a stab in the dark, as we do not know how local government will respond to the changes that central government is making, such as changes to the national minimum wage, different national strategies, and the pressures from increasing interest rates.
The cost of living crisis has had a huge impact. It was hard before, but now it is very difficult to find people ready to work in the care sector when they can probably earn £2 more per hour working at supermarkets or food chains. We need people who see care as a vocation but at the moment they need to prioritise their salary over where they work to ensure they have food on the table.
The financial impact is very high as local government is not increasing fees at the same level as all our costs are increasing, which means that the slim margins are disappearing and we are operating knowing that we will be making some losses.”
About the Care England Fair Cost of Care report
Hft and Care England have partnered to deliver the 2023 Sector Pulse Check report. The findings reflect a national survey completed by adult social care providers and illustrate the most pertinent issues facing the sector as described by those who live it on a daily basis and understand it best.
About Diagrama Foundation
Diagrama Foundation is a Kent based charity that supports vulnerable children, young people, and adults to live their best life.
Diagrama has a Supported Living Service across Bromley, three homes for adults with learning disabilities in Orpington, an eight-bed care home for adults with learning disabilities in West Sussex a fifty-bed care home for the elderly with nursing and dementia needs in Essex, and a fostering and adoption service in the southeast.
- The Supported Living Service, cares for 35 adults with learning disabilities, in nine homes across Bromley helping them to develop skills and confidence to live in their own house either on their own or with others.
- At Cabrini House in Orpington the charity promotes the development of core skills for 23 adults with learning disabilities so that they can lead independent lives integrated within their community.
- Duckyls Farm in West Sussex, a care home for eight residents with learning disabilities, allows the charity to explore the physical, mental and social benefits that working both with animals and in nature can offer to people with a learning disability.
- The team at their nursing and dementia care home, Edensor Care Centre in Clacton on Sea, support vulnerable residents to live life to the full.
- Diagrama’s adoption and fostering service cares for children in South London, Kent, Sussex, and Surrey.
Many vulnerable children and adults don’t get the support they need to develop their true potential, but the Diagrama team know that when someone has time and belief invested in them, they come alive, because that investment has made them feel valued and worthy.