They isolate people and devastate families.
6 December 2018 – Much has been written about budget cuts over the last year, including this week, the BBC’s impressive graphs and charts showing council budgets cuts and spending only too clearly. Again, earlier this year, the Institute for Fiscal Studies highlighted the deep cuts in social care budgets. Essentially it’s the same story, there’s less money, with already deprived areas suffering the deepest cuts.
budget cuts are cutting far more than money; they are isolating people and devastating families.
What does this mean to people needing these services? The truth is that budget cuts are cutting far more than money; they are isolating people and devastating families. In addition to the 1.4 million older people living with ‘unmet needs’, a rise of 19% in two years, families still eligible for support often find themselves struggling to get any help.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman reports many cases of councils repeatedly failing to follow the Care Act and more people waiting months, if not years, to get assessments or have their care needs met. But when you are old and frail, you have little time to wait.
These are the stories we hear time and time again on our Helpline. The systems put in place to protect people are failing with many authorities ‘passing the buck’. We hear of people nearing the end of their lives being placed in homes too far for their friends and family to visit. Of worn out carers waiting months for assessments, only to find out the person had been assessed without their knowledge and had refused the care unable to understand what was being asked or by whom and having to start the process all over again. Increasingly Adult Social Care departments are not seen as places to seek support, but organisations that carers and families do battle with and who make their lives more complicated than ever.
Budget cuts don’t just affect those that need the support but those around them and they last long after the care is needed. Our Helpline workers hear from people still struggling to come to terms with failures within the social care system that may have happened years before and are now fearful for their own future. This aspect, the emotional cost to those who have struggled to get care for a family member or found themselves parted from them in the last months of their lives, is rarely highlighted. These scars go deep and don’t heal easily.
The ever retreating Green Paper on social care must not miss this opportunity to reverse the tide on cash starved councils if we are to take the impact on those families needing support seriously and value our older people. Otherwise the current numbers of exhausted and scarred carers and families will continue to increase as reduced budgets continue to fail them.