Royal London has backed calls from senior social care professionals for Government to take “urgent action” to fill the “catastrophic” impact that long-term care costs are having on individuals, families and society as a whole.
The life office was responding to research from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).
Jennifer Gilchrist, protection specialist at Royal London, said COVID-19 has worsened an “already fragile” social care system which is impacting those who are vulnerable the most.
She said: “Urgent action is needed with the Government taking the lead in developing and enabling an ecosystem of support for individuals as they move through different life stages into their later life.”
ADASS has published two reports which it says paint a “vivid picture of the terrible impact” of the pandemic for those of us who need social care, family carers those organisations providing services.
The first report – available here – laid bare the impact upon those of us who are older or disabled, who have care and support needs and our families.
The second report – also available here – reveals the scale of the financial impact of the pandemic and its “very real” consequences on the care and support of millions, the ability of local authorities to fund adult care, and the “very viability” of thousands of caring organisations that provide support to millions of people.
ADASS carries out an annual Budget Survey that serves as a barometer of the financial state of social care.
A spokesman said that while the headlines of the research findings inevitably focus on finances, the “important messages” relate to what the reduction in social care budgets means for millions of working-age disabled people and older people with care and support and needs and their families.
ADASS President James Bullion said the pandemic has exposed “dreadful inequalities” relating to people’s mental health, people with learning disabilities, older people at the end of their lives in nursing homes, Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and poorer communities.
He said: “It has also highlighted the courage, compassion and commitment of care staff and the essential work they do. The public are now more aware than ever of how essential social care is to our society.
“These reports are a wake-up call that requires a clear response. Urgent action is needed to plug the financial black hole that has been blown in local government finances, to properly recognise and reward colleagues working in social care, stabilise providers of care and most importantly safeguard and ultimately enhance the care and support available to those of us who need it.”
Bullion said that without such action, local authorities will run out of money, care providers will go to the wall, many of us will not get the care and support we need, and the economy will take a further hit as more of us are forced to give up work to fill the caring gaps. He said: “Prioritising social care is the right thing to do morally, ethically, economically and politically. We must act now, for all our sakes.”
Backing those calls, Royal London’s Gilchrist her organisation wants the Government to deliver a social care plan which includes a cap so no-one will face “catastrophic” care costs.
She said: “The plan also needs to support consumers in better understanding their care needs and provide the financial services sector with the ability to design complementary solutions for people who want to supplement state support.”