Funding Domiciliary Care and Care homes… the political and human context
In my recent blogs I have tended to focus on the delivery of care and improvements in best practice. However, in this bog I wish to turn my attention to the political dimension and the influence of politicians on the delivery of care and those who may or may not receive it.
Recent reports by the Kings Fund and the Joseph Rowntree Trust continue to highlight the funding crisis in the NHS and social care. This is a continually recurring theme. Over the past 20 years’ governments regardless of their political persuasion have failed to gain all party agreement and as a consequence we are left, failing to find a workable strategy.
The most recent Government approach to give responsibility for the funding of social care to Local Authorities is also likely to fail, unless the funding is made more specific and ring fenced. Latest figures show a significant drop of 26% in the funding of social care services.
The contraction in funding is also having an adverse effect on the taking up of domiciliary care and care homes provision where the availability is often dependent on where you live, the so called ‘postal lottery’.
I recently spoke to one of our customers who operates a social care service in the south of England. She says “80% of her care home places are privately funded” and they are relying less on Local Authority funding. We therefore have then a situation where there is more rationing of social care, fewer people receiving it and those that do, end up having to pay for it.
The situation is further exasperated through NHS bed blocking where many people’s needs could be accommodated in domiciliary care services or care homes. The net result is that NHS and social care providers are facing a chaotic situation. The consequence of which is some excellent social care providers pulling up sticks because they can no longer afford to run their services.
Given what may seem to be a pessimistic view of our current situation, perhaps we should take heart from a more positive view of the future. Patrick Hall, Fellow Social Care Policy says “the financial situation is complex and difficult to assess, but given the challenges of an aging population with a variety of long-term conditions combined with a changing family, community and cultural structure, it is difficult to be optimistic. But now is no time to stick our heads in the sand – we have to work together to reimagine social care for those who will need care and support in the next decades and beyond”.
Albert Cook Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute Managing Director Bettal Quality Consultancy