Predicted rise in care needs: full comment by Cllr Nick Forbes

Cllr Nick Forbes, Senior Vice Chair of the LGA, comments on a report in The Lancet Public Health journal which forecasts that the number of older people needing round-the-clock care will double by 2035 (originally published in the Express).

This latest report by the Lancet is further stark evidence of the growing crisis in adult social care and the urgent need to plug the immediate funding gap and find a long-term solution on how we pay for it and improve people’s independence and wellbeing.

With a rapidly growing ageing population, increases in costs, decreases in funding, care providers closing and contracts being handed back to councils, the system is now widely recognised as being at breaking point. 

Since 2010 councils have had to bridge a £6 billion funding shortfall just to keep the adult social care system going. But demand for care is increasing. Councils in England receive 1.8 million new requests for adult social care a year – the equivalent of nearly 5,000 a day.

Adult social care services face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care.

The likely consequences of this are more and more people being unable to get quality and reliable care and support, which enables them to maintain their independence and wellbeing and greater strain on unpaid carers who are the backbone of the care system. 

For at least two decades, successive governments have failed to find an answer to the question of how we fund adult social care for the long-term.

‘Sticking plaster’ solutions such as one-off funding to councils and increases through a social care ‘precept’ to council tax have failed to address all immediate pressures, let alone deal with the longer-term.  

These issues cannot be ignored any longer. This is why, following the disappointing decision by government to delay its green paper on adult social care until the autumn, the Local Government Association has published its own green paper consultation.

Our consultation aims to influence government policy by encouraging a nationwide public debate on how we can change social care for the better, how we could pay for those changes and how we can move to a care system which places a greater focus on public health, prevention and early intervention work.

This will help people live happier, more fulfilling lives and reduce the pressure on the NHS through preventing unnecessary admissions to hospitals.

Cllr Nick Forbes
Senior Vice Chair, Local Government Association

Bright Futures

'The lives we want to lead'
The LGA green paper for adult social care and wellbeing

Adult social care and support matters. High quality social care and support helps people live the life they want to live. It helps bind our communities, it sustains our NHS and it provides essential economic value to our country.

Read our green paper