NHS Digital has released new data which shows that demand for adult social care services has increased by 1.6% since 2015-16, equating to an additional 5,000 requests for support received per day by local authorities.
At the same time, growth in government spending has only seen a 0.4% increase in real terms and the 10,670 fewer people received long term social care support.
Commenting on the data, Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation, said:
'Today’s new data illustrates the ever growing gap between funding of and demand for social care. With the long-awaited green paper on social care still yet to materialise, older people and vulnerable adults are being failed by a chronically underfunded care system. Despite promises of extra cash, social care spending increased by less than half a percent above inflation last year, while demand grew by four times that amount. The result is 10,000 fewer people receiving long-term support.
'The government has announced an extra cash injection of £240m for social care this year, attempting to avoid a repeat of last winter which saw huge pressure on hospitals linked to gaps in social care provision. This is now the fourth year in a row of patch-and-make-do funding for social care. The new data is a stark and timely reminder that social care needs long-term funding which comes close to matching the substantial pressures on the system.
'While the government has made a welcome promise to increase NHS funding by £20.5bn over the next five years, there has been no equivalent commitment to social care – this is despite the pressures on social care being at least equal to those on the health service. Without extra funding there is a real risk, not only that vulnerable people will suffer, but also that the shortfalls of the social care system will continue to undermine the NHS.'
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