The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is calling on the Government to provide discrete winter funding for social care.
ADASS is campaigning to ensure that working-age disabled adults and older people continue to get the care and support they need in their own homes, and to fund carers’ breaks so that councils can protect unpaid family carers. ADASS says the Government must prioritise winter funding for adult social care.
Carers UK estimates that up to 13 million people provide informal, unpaid care for a family member. This includes 5 million additional people who have taken on caring responsibilities during the pandemic.
According to ADASS, the ‘human cost’ of the COVID-19 outbreak to date underlines why Government must act now; the number of people who died, care staff who gave their lives caring for others, those who experienced domestic violence, those whose mental health deteriorated, and those family carers who were left exhausted by 24/7 lockdown care.
ADASS is recommending that Government take the following actions as a matter of urgency:
- An additional £480m for increased care at home, home first, shared lives and community support.
There has been a shift in the type of care and support that people want to access since the onset of COVID-19. Individuals and families, where it is safe to do so, are opting to remain in their homes, using domiciliary care and hiring personal assistants. Additional funding is imperative, to allow local authorities to invest in an upscaling of provision, which could provide additional capacity to discharge people from hospital – which must be underpinned by the ‘home first’ principle.
- An urgent package of support for carers.
Families and close friends providing unpaid care have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic and there’s no doubt that services would have been overwhelmed if they had not provided unpaid care. Many people are now worried they will be unable to cope. An urgent package of support for carers is needed – an extra payment for those on Carer’s Allowance to manage the costs of winter and a robust urgent breaks package for those most in need. Investing around £1.2bn in care would provide carers with a weekly break. This is essential to get unpaid carers and their families through winter and through the pandemic, but would also provide much needed employment as the economy seeks to recover from the impact of the pandemic. The investment will far outweigh the costs of carer breakdown and admission to hospital at a time when they can least cope.
James Bullion, ADASS President said, ‘To date, the response to the pandemic has centred almost exclusively on the NHS and to a lesser extent on care homes. As we enter the new lockdown, there must be a greater focus on the majority of people who receive care and support in their own homes, and the millions of unpaid family carers who provide the majority of care and support for their loved ones.
‘That is why we are calling on the Government to provide £480m to ensure that older people and working-age disabled adults continue to receive the care and support they need in their homes over the winter, and a further £1.2bn to ensure that unpaid family carers get the breaks they need over the coming months, to enable them to continue providing vital, life-saving care and support.
‘This is not a nicety. It is a necessity. Without a stronger focus on care at home and greater support for family carers, those of us who have care and support needs will not receive that care, and our family carers will face an intolerable winter.
‘During the first wave of the pandemic, much was made of the need to protect the NHS. The reality is that we only protect the NHS by equally protecting social care, and we will only protect the NHS and social care by protecting family carers.’
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