ADASS calls on UK Government to prioritise adult social care this winter

ADASS calls on UK Government to prioritise adult social care this winter
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To ensure that working-age disabled people and older people get the care they need, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is calling on the Government to provide winter funding for social care this winter.

ADASS is calling on the Government to provide funding this winter to aid the millions of people across the country who need support in the home, as well as the family members who care for them.

Support in the home

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that more people want to receive care and support in their own homes causing rising demand for domiciliary care, increasing use of direct payments to employ personal assistants and greater interest in other forms of community support such as Shared Lives and Supported Living. This has also put a greater responsibility on family carers to provide that care and support.

James Bullion, ADASS President, said: “To date, the response to the pandemic has centred almost exclusively on the NHS and to a lesser extent on care homes. As we enter the new lockdown, there must be a greater focus on the majority of people who receive care and support in their own homes, and the millions of unpaid family carers who provide the majority of care and support for their loved ones.

“That is why we are calling on the Government to provide £480m to ensure that older people and working-age disabled adults continue to receive the care and support they need in their homes over the winter, and a further £1.2bn to ensure that unpaid family carers get the breaks they need over the coming months, to enable them to continue providing vital, life-saving care and support.

“This is not a nicety. It is a necessity. Without a stronger focus on care at home and greater support for family carers, those of us who have care and support needs will not receive that care, and our family carers will face an intolerable winter.

“During the first wave of the pandemic, much was made of the need to protect the NHS. The reality is that we only protect the NHS by equally protecting social care, and we will only protect the NHS and social care by protecting family carers.”

Learning from the spring and summer COVID-19 response

ADASS have also recently published a new report ‘Themes and Learning from ADASS Members on the Local Response to COVID-19 in Spring and Early Summer 2020’ which explores experiences of councils and decisions relating to the Care Act easements.

One point highlighted in the report states that: ‘At the beginning of the pandemic (March/early April), there was a rush to discharge people from hospital to free up acute hospital and intensive care beds that would be needed to treat people who had COVID-19. This had a major impact on the rest of the health and social care system, across the country (not just in easements areas), as everything was focussed on protecting the NHS, which proved to be the detriment of those in other services.’

Bullion said: “We all learned a great deal during the first wave of the pandemic, and we must take that learning forward to meet the further challenges we now face. We are keen to work with government to ensure that adult social care is better understood and has the resources to ensure that people’s needs for care and support are met.

“What the pandemic is starkly showing us is that people who need adult social care must have parity of esteem with NHS patients. And care services, and those who provide them, must be valued alongside and equally with the NHS.”

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