Cash Crisis For York Adult Care

Soaring demand for care for adults with learning difficulties is leaving York with a cash crisis, a top councillor has warned. The number of patients cared for by City of York Council increased from 326 to 417 between March and October this year and is expected to continue rising over the next decade.

But, instead of increasing funding, the Government has cut York’s Supporting People grant by almost £900,000.

Sue Galloway, the council’s executive member for adult social services, said: “I am very worried that councils are heading for serious problems paying for care for adults with learning disabilities. The Government has cut York’s Supporting People grant for next year by £897,000, taking the majority of this money from learning disabilities.

“At the same time, the council is providing services to an ever-growing number of people. We desperately want to continue to provide for York residents, but unless we receive extra funding in the years to come the city faces a serious budget crisis. Unless the Government stops making cuts in social services, the financial problems look set to worsen.”

Between March and October, demand for care rose by 28 per cent, and council officers forecast further growth of 55 per cent over the next ten years.

Coun Galloway said that while the Government had acknowledged rising care costs in the NHS, and given additional funds to primary care trusts in order to offset some of the impact, it had not provided any additional resources to councils who also provide care services, forcing council tax- payers to cover rising bills.

She said: “Some individual care packages cost £80,000. While this care is clearly necessary, it is very difficult for councils to find resources of this scale. I am very worried that in future all of our resources will have to be directed at a few very high-need cases. We urgently need the Government to recognise this problem, and help us to fund services in a sustainable way.”

A council spokeswoman said the increase in demand was due to many factors, including the number of people requiring care growing as more children survive into adulthood; more people being able to survive traumatic injuries; more people with learning disabilities living into old age; and older people generally living longer.

She said demand for the full range of care services was growing year on year, not just those for people with learning disabilities.