Cost of adult social care has rocketed in Barnet

SPENDING on adult social services in Barnet has increased by 25 per cent over the last five years, a report has revealed. The cost of handling elderly and vulnerable adults has risen massively above inflation, with £22 million more spent this year than five years ago.

The report submitted to a Barnet Council health committee, detailing the challenges the borough faces in healthcare provision, suggests that the pressure is going to increase.

It notes a Government estimate that spending on health and social care interventions is set to double by 2022.

Adult social services provides a wide range of services intended to help people live independently and stay healthy, from organising meals on wheels to supporting those with mental health issues.

In Barnet, according to the report, the needs of people who are referred to social services are becoming increasingly complex, in part because people with long-term health conditions are now living longer.

It also notes that referrals from housing services are rising, suggesting a greater need for suitable accommodation for disabled and vulnerable adults.

The council’s broad policy is to enable, where possible, people to stay in their own homes and retain control of their own lives, something the report claims there is support for among those who are affected.

It notes that most people currently receive care and support through informal arrangements and their families, which can put long term stress on carers.

The report suggests that helping people to live in their own homes will be vital in meeting the growing demands placed on social services.

“The general approach to meeting the needs of older people will be to focus on early intervention and prevention, thus enabling a much higher level of self managed care,” it says.

“This will also require better infrastructure to support carer’s needs and the development of new technology…to empower older people to stay as long as possible in their own homes.”