Growth In Numbers Of Older People ‘Isn’t A Crisis Waiting To Happen: It’s A Crisis Already Here’

Directors of adult social services have added their weight to concerns about the growing funding shortfalls for services to older people. According to John Dixon, vice president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS):

“There exists absolutely cast iron evidence that unsustainable demand pressures are putting all budgets – social care as well as health – under severe strain. Those pressures have been confirmed by this week’s survey by the Local Government Association; by the King’s Fund Centre report drawn up by Sir Derek Wanless last year; by our own analysis of spending pressures on services for people with learning disabilities, and by the daily experience of every director of adult social services and their staff across the country.

“There are undoubtedly some areas where unpredicted shortfalls in NHS funding have led to sudden, short-term financial difficulties for neighbouring local authority social care services. And in its survey, the LGA has quite rightly drawn attention to the deep funding inter-dependency of NHS and local government commissioned and provided services. They are, indeed, both sides of the same coin.”

He went on to refer to the ways in which adult care services and the NHS are continuing, despite the pressures, to work constructively together across health and social care boundaries for the benefit of older and disabled people. And to the new, draft commissioning framework published earlier this month which, he said, “will enhance that co-operation.”

He went on: “Unless, however, these fundamental demographic issues are addressed by the Treasury in its forthcoming revues of public spending, older people everywhere, no matter who is responsible for their care, are going to be the losers.

“The government needs to understand that the current unsustainable pressures caused by the welcome growth in the numbers of older people isn’t a crisis waiting to happen: it’s a crisis already here.”