Hampshire Social Care Recieves Two Star Rating

For the fifth year running, adult social care services in Hampshire have been given a two-star rating. Council chiefs said they were “delighted” to keep their two stars, despite growing financial difficulties. The council was judged to be “serving most people well with promising prospects for improvement”.

The performance ratings were carried out by the Government’s social care inspection team and just under half the 150 authorities assessed received two stars.

Overall, Hampshire was judged to have made “some steady improvement”. But one area that attracted criticism was the delayed discharging of elderly people from NHS hospital beds.

The inspectors’ report said bed-blocking caused by the council failing to arrange community care had reduced, but was still above the national average.

The report also warned that a close eye needed to be kept on costs after the adult services department overspent by £11m last year.

Hampshire is among the two-thirds of councils that currently provide home-care services only to those in “critical” or “substantial” need.

The Conservative council recently dropped a proposal to change the criteria for home care so that only those in critical need or life-threatening situations qualified for help.

The idea was to concentrate scarce resources on the most needy.

But thousands of elderly and disabled people unable to manage on their own would no longer have received help with cleaning, dressing, washing and shopping.

The county council says Hampshire’s government grant for adult care services is the second-lowest in the country.

Patricia Banks, executive county councillor for adult care, said: “Put into context, this is a really tough time for adult social care, not just here in Hampshire, but across the country. We are facing severe financial pressures.”

She added: “We have maintained the two-star rating and, in fact, shown improvement in areas such as the continued promotion of individual independence and choice through the modernisation of services and the increased range of provision. Our Direct Payments scheme was rated above average compared to other councils.”

But Alan Dowden, Lib-Dem opposition spokesman for adult care, said the assessment was carried out before cuts in services to make up the funding shortfall had had “time to bite.”

He said: “‘Next year, the situation will be quite different, with the strong possibility of the department being reduced to a one-star rating.

“Hampshire spends less per head of population than any other authority in the country on social care for our old and vulnerable people. This is at the same time as the Conservative administration is proposing to spend over £40m on a facelift of the county’s HQ at Winchester.”