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Responding to the publication today of Reforming adult social care in England by the National Audit Office, Lucinda Allen, Senior Policy Officer at the Health Foundation, said:  

‘The NAO’s report should be a wakeup call to government and political parties ahead of the general election. The social care system is in crisis. Older and disabled people are going without the care they need, staff vacancies stand at 1 in 10, and reliance on unpaid carers is high.

‘Successive governments have broken promises to ‘fix’ social care. The current government is no different, watering down its reform plans and delaying the introduction of a cap on care costs – leaving people vulnerable to potentially catastrophic costs. Money earmarked for reform is instead going towards immediate pressures on care services, continuing a legacy of short-termism in social care funding.

‘Fundamental reform of the social care system in England is needed to improve people’s access to care, boost pay and conditions for staff, and increase state protection against care costs. This will require additional funding. The Health Foundation estimates it could cost an extra £8.3bn a year by 2032 just to meet expected demand as our population ages. An ambitious government can afford to go further and improve our social care system – and stop history repeating itself.’ 

Notes to editors

Spending on social care over the longer term is highly uncertain and complex to project. Our REAL Centre’s estimate of additional funding pressure of £8.3bn by 2032/33 is against a baseline case of 0% real terms spending growth between 2024/25 and 2032/3.   

Media contact

Ash Singleton
020 7664 8041

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