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Carers UK responds to the Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report, 2016-17

26 October 2017

The latest data from NHS Digital on Adult Social Care Spending in England, which includes support for those caring unpaid for adults, was published on the 25th of October 2017.

This data covering the 2016-2017 reporting period showed:

  • The number of carers getting support or being assessed from local authorities has dropped by 5% since last year with spending on carers dropping by 6%.
  • Spending on the respite services that give carers’ a much needed break from their caring has also decreased.
  • Between 2015/6 and 2016/7 across all England regions, 6 in 9 decreased the level of support offered for respite breaks for carers. Only the North West, North East and London increased the number of carers in the last year. With the exception of the North West region, all English regions have reduced the number of carers receiving respite over the course in the last two years.
  • The data for 2016-2017 also reveals that the number of carers who receive respite support as a percentage of all carers receiving local authority support/contact varies hugely across different local authorities from 1% of the carers that the local authority supports in one area to 80% in another area.

Responding to the data, Heléna Herklots from Carers UK said:

“This latest data on adult social care spending mirrors what Carers UK is hearing every day from carers themselves – that despite stronger rights to support they are finding it harder and harder to get the vital support they need to take care of their loved one without putting their own health at risk and their lives on hold.

Carers UK’s own research found that four in ten (40%) of carers say they haven’t had a day off for more than a year.

The small increase in spending on adult social care reflected in the NHS Digital data is welcome but needs to be seen in the context of an annual funding gap for social care expected to grow to £2.3 billion by 2020. As well as addressing the continuing crisis in social care funding, Carers UK is calling on the Department of Health to increase and ring-fence funding for carers’ breaks and to work with local authorities to make funding transparent so carers know what they are entitled to and to ensure greater consistency in availability across different areas.

Given the enormous value of unpaid care provided by the UK’s 6.5 million carers, estimated to be worth £132 billion each year – getting the time away from caring to spend time with a friend or partner, get to a doctor’s appointment or even just get a proper night’s sleep surely isn’t too much to ask.”

For more information, visit the NHS Digital website

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