The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) says tens of thousands of individuals with support needs contacted social services for help during the coronavirus crisis.
ADASS said a survey of councils across England found sharp increases in requests for help from people being discharged from hospital, fleeing from domestic abuse, or losing their regular support from unpaid carers who are themselves at breaking point.
The survey of more than 100 councils offers some of the first hard evidence of the debilitating effects of the coronavirus emergency on society, with many councils reporting unprecedented demand for help.
ADASS said 82% of adult social services directors reported rising demand for help from people being discharged from hospital and 69% reported an increase in cases of domestic abuse and safeguarding of vulnerable adults. While 63% reported growing numbers of people seeking help because of the breakdown of unpaid carer arrangements through sickness or unavailability.
James Bullion, ADASS president, said: ‘This report paints a stark picture of how the pandemic has affected millions of us who have care and support needs, or who care for a family member who does.
For the first time, we have hard evidence of the scale and breadth of the impact of Covid-19 on those of us who are working-age disabled people, older people, family members, and carers.’
ADASS is warning that unless adult social care is prioritised in the government spending review on Wednesday, millions of people could be at risk of receiving no care or support as the crisis continues and its impact becomes ever starker.
James Bullion said: ‘This should be a wake-up call for the government, and it must respond. The risk is that unless adult social care is prioritised in the Spending Review, the caring arrangements that millions of us rely upon will break down and the cost will the paid by society and the economy.
‘This is an opportunity to send a clear signal that working-age disabled people, older people and carers are recognised, valued, and protected. Failure to invest now will also make the goal of long-term reform so much harder to achieve.’
ADASS is seeking a package in the Spending Review that would stabilise the adult social care system next year, meet all coronavirus costs and offer some certainty for the longer term including multi-year funding settlements.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said he will conduct a spending review on Wednesday (November 25) in order to ‘prioritise the response to Covid-19’.
‘In the current environment, it’s essential that we provide certainty.
‘So we’ll be doing that for departments and all of the nations of the United Kingdom by setting budgets for next year, with a total focus on tackling Covid and delivering our Plan for Jobs.
‘Long term investment in our country’s future is the right thing to do, especially in areas which are the cornerstone of our society like the NHS, schools and infrastructure.
‘We’ll make sure these areas crucial to our economic recovery have their budgets set for further years so they can plan and help us Build Back Better.’
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