New Kings Fund Report Highlights Lack of Government Action on Social Care

Wed,13 March 2024
News Health & Social Care
The Kings Fund's latest Social Care 360 report highlights that adult requests for social care have hit a record high of two million, and across the sector, the key measures all point towards a social care system that is under intense pressure. 

The trends for 2022/23 show that:   

  • Financial eligibility continues to tighten, with financial thresholds for help with care costs staying the same since 2010/11.  
  • The cost to local authorities of purchasing care continues to increase faster than inflation – since 2015/16, the average weekly fee for working-age adults increased from £1,400 to £1,540, the average weekly fee paid for older people increased from £670 to £840, and the average hourly rate for home care increased from £17.50 to £20.60 (in real terms – taking inflation into account).  
  • The social care workforce vacancy rate is still at its second highest ever level, despite around 70,000 overseas workers arriving.  
  • There are approximately 19,000 fewer unpaid carers receiving direct support than in 2015/16, and 21,000 fewer people receiving respite care over the same period.  

The Kings Fund report authors note that whilst the latest data does show a slight increase in the number of adults receiving publicly funded social care support compared to 2021/22, this upturn is likely largely due to a 'correction' after the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. Compared to 2015/16, there are still 11% more people asking for support and 2% fewer people receiving it.   

Equally, although the number of social care vacancies fell from a historic high of 165,000 in 2021/22 to 152,000 in 2022/23, this was driven by a sharp increase in the number of overseas staff recruited to work in adult social care. Since then, the government has announced a tightening of the rules affecting overseas care workers, meaning they will not be allowed to bring dependents to the UK. 

"The King's Fund argues that if the next government wants to 'fix' social care, it will need to increase funding to enable care providers to attract, retain, and train staff and implement reforms to make the system fairer and improve quality and outcomes for service users and their carers. " 

Mikey Erhardt, Social Care Campaigner at DR UK said: "Yet another report crystalises what Disabled people already know about our failing social care system: that years of systematic neglect and underfunding have left it unable to allow us to live safely in our local community, connected to our friends and family support networks.  

As this government-made funding crisis deepens, we demand a system that enables us to live independently rather than generating a list of 'care tasks' our local authority can charge us for." 

Read the full report from the King's Fund on their website.