Financial pressures ‘forcing social care providers to hand back contracts’

Three out of five social care providers have had to close down parts of their work or hand back contracts to local authorities because of financial pressures, according to a new report.

Research for charity Hft suggested that even more will have to do the same in the near future.

One in 10 feared a reduction in quality of care if their financial situation did not improve.

The study, carried out by economic consultants Cebr, suggested that most providers believed low wages was the biggest barrier to recruiting and retaining staff.

Hft, which supports adults with learning difficulties, said increases in the cost of hiring agency staff was adding to the financial pressures.

Billy Davis, public affairs and policy manager for Hft said: “This year’s sector pulse check is a red flag for the future of social care.

“With repeated calls for a sustainable funding solution going unheeded, we are now seeing the true cost of government inaction on providers.

“More than half of providers have reported needing to hand back financially unsustainable contracts in the past year.

“This is culturally at odds with how many providers in the sector operate, particularly with individuals who may have been supported by a provider for much of their adult lives.

“Two thirds of providers are also warning that they will need to hand back further contracts in the near future.

“It is deeply worrying, if not surprising, that our report concludes that, for the first time, providers are warning that it will not be long before these financial pressures may soon start to be felt by those vulnerable adults supported by the sector, as disruptions to the continuity of care they receive becomes more commonplace.

“The underfunding of social care is a national crisis that requires a national solution.

“With the green paper on social care now long overdue, we call on the Government to urgently address the issues facing the sector, before it affects some of the most vulnerable adults in our society.”

Pablo Shah of the Cebr, added: “The results of the latest survey highlight that cost pressures are intensifying for the UK’s care providers, with nearly a third of organisations that are not already running a deficit expecting to do so within the next two years.

“Recruitment remains an ongoing challenge for the social care sector, as care providers are struggling to meet their employees’ wage expectations, given increasing funding pressures.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said they were committed to ensuring everyone has access to the care and support they need.

“We have provided local authorities with access to up to £3.6 billion this year for adult social care and up to £3.9 billion for next year, and will shortly set out our plans to reform the system to make it sustainable for the future,” the spokesman said.

“Ahead of this, our national adult social care recruitment campaign will raise the image and profile of the sector, and help ensure there are enough staff to meet growing demand for care and support services.”

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