Report reveals ‘damning’ rise in number of social care needs assessment enquiries

Charity Access Social Care’s annual report paints a ‘desperate’ picture of the English social care system, revealing a 229% increase in the number of social care needs assessment enquiries in 2021/22 compared to 2019/20.

The nationwide data in this year’s report has also evidenced an 88% increase in enquiries that were identified as needing specialist legal advice in the year 2021/22, compared to 2019/20.

The dramatic rise in advice demand far outstrips available resources, says the charity.

child in blue hoodie sitting on floor

The report also revealed that, in light of growing concern surrounding the increased cost of living and the aftermath of the pandemic, the number of enquiries regarding problems or concerns about existing social care and support rose by 43% in the year 2021/22 compared to 2019/20.

The report finds wellbeing of both care users and providers has continued to decline, and pressures on capacity have meant that helplines have been required to take on additional staff and expand opening hours to cope with increased demand.

Kari Gerstheimer, Chief Executive of Access Social Care said: ‘Once again the State of the Nation report has highlighted serious issues within the English social care system, and at what cost? Most local authorities cannot meet the demand for care. This affects all of us. Whether we are self funders or in receipt of state funded care, we will all need social care at some point either for ourselves or for a loved one. The Government claims to have fixed social care and continues its promises to help ease the cost of living crisis, but the sums don’t add up. Millions of people are feeling the effects of an underfunded system.

‘We want a social care system that is properly financed, readily available and fairly distributed. Currently, vital services are overstretched, and people are going without the necessary social care they so desperately need – something needs to change.’

Photo by Vladimir Fedotov


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