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Fresh evidence of a deepening crisis is adult social care funding emerged on Wednesday, as a worrying new survey revealed a projected overspend of almost £0.5 billion (£441 million) in the last six months alone.

The survey by Adass also highlighted the risk of further closures of residential and nursing homes, as care providers hand back contracts to local authorities due to insufficient funding. This in-turn could heap further pressures on the National Health Service, at a time when it is already struggling to cope.

Adass surveyed 129 of the 152 directors of adult social services in England, and found councils are having to fall back on reserves and use other one-off funding to cover the gap in adult social care funding.

According to the results of the survey, 62% of councils have had residential and nursing home closures, while 57% have seen social care contracts handed back in the last six months, affecting an estimated 10,820 care users.

The situation has been made even worse by a reduction in funding from the NHS to social care, despite promises from the government of further investment.

The survey also found:

  • 79% have quality concerns with one or more home care and/or residential care providers, rising to 84% for nursing care providers.
  • 68% of Directors are considering reductions to NHS-funded continuing healthcare
  • 56% reporting increased demand for healthcare activity to be undertaken by social care staff
  • 51 per cent reporting increased demand from people with very high needs not being admitted to hospital

ADASS Immediate Past President Ray James said: “This survey paints a picture of adult social care verging ever nearer to a point of crisis.

“The funding gaps are a huge concern for the sector because the impact this is having on the lives of thousands of older and disabled people, their families and carers, is both significant and extremely worrying.

“Adult social care is entering a “perfect storm” which is impacting on vulnerable people who are getting less help and whose need for care won’t stop.

“Urgent and significant government investment is needed now to address funding for the sector, or thousands of people who rely, or hope to rely, on receiving care, will suffer as a result.”