Researchers warn of impact of ‘lost decade’ in adult social care

The UK’s adult social care is desperately overstretched and has now reached breaking point, according to a new report.

Experts at the University of Birmingham have warned that crisis is partly the result of a ‘lost decade’ in a hard-hitting report published in the Journal of Social Policy.

The team, led by Professor Jon Glasby in the School of Social Policy, asserts that without swift government intervention, the adult social care system could quickly become unsustainable.

The 2020 update was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council part of UK Research and Innovation,  as part of the research titled ‘Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems, 2017-21’, led by the University of Sheffield’s Professor Sue Yeandle.

The article draws on and updates a 2010 review of the reform and costs of adult social care – commissioned by Downing Street and the UK Department of Health – which concluded the system was widely recognised as ‘broken’ and that, with no action, the costs of adult social care could double within two decades.

Moreover, this would be the case for current services and approaches (which had already been strongly criticised for failing to fully and appropriately meet need), leading to significantly higher costs with no improvement.

‘Our research has explored the future reform and costs of adult social care, and the high cost of inaction.  In 2010, we were adamant that doing nothing was not an option,’ said Professor Glasby.

‘Our 2020 update shows that, without swift government intervention, the adult social care system could quickly become unsustainable.  Even though this research was carried out before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, urgent action is likely to be even more pressing in the current context.’

There have been repeated warnings about the state of the social care system, particularly as it struggles to deal with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, the Association of Adult Social Services (ADASS) just 4% of adult social care directors are confident that their budgets are sufficient to meet their statutory duties.

Photo Credit – Geralt (Pixabay)

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