Adult Social Care at Tipping Point

22 Mar 2017

It has recently been highlighted in the press that many care firms have had to cancel contracts with 95 UK councils because they cannot deliver the services for the amount they are being paid by the council.  A recent BBC panorama has investigated this.

As a consequence of cutbacks, some of the care firms have said they could not recruit or retain the staff that they needed to keep the firms going and provide the care to their clients.  It has been labelled by The Local Government Association as “historic underfunding” and also an aging population.

It would appear that information in relation to the number of cancelled contracts comes from a freedom of information request in which 197 out of 212 UK councils responded.  This has had a knock-on effect in the fact that 69 homecare companies have closed in the last three months, and many of the UK’s homecare companies is at risk of going under.

This is catastrophic for many who are unable to care for their loved ones at home and rely on specialist care for their disabled / injured relative.  It is an enormous strain for a family member to take over the responsibility of care in the long term.  Further the Centre for Workforce Intelligence has estimated that ‘at least two million more carers will be needed by 2025’.  That is only 8 years away.

The knock on effect of this is that patients will end up staying in hospital longer as there will be nowhere for them to be discharged to. This in turn will continue to block beds which the government figures indicate currently means that there are more than 6,500 people across Britain who are stranded in an acute hospital bed even though they no longer require hospital treatment and are fit for discharge.  Apparently, a third of these patients are waiting for a home care package.

However, if the care companies are not paid enough to provide the services the services will disappear. The care companies cannot afford to make cuts and they are legally obliged to pay staff 1% pension and 13.8% NI contributions.  Care staff also need training, regular assessments, also other costs are also required to ensure the right staff are doing the job.

Stephanie Prior, Head of Medical Negligence at Osbornes is currently acting for a man who had a care contract for carers visit him daily at home to assist him and prompt him to take his medication.  The medication prescribed was to control his blood pressure.  However, the carers did not attend his home daily as agreed and on some occasions attended but could not gain entry into his home and did not make contact with their manager or other family members of the man. Our client did not take his medication as prescribed. This led to my client collapsing at home because of his high blood pressure and this in turn led to him suffering a severe cerebrovascular accident and he is now permanently disabled.

Carers are vital to the wellbeing of those that need them, it is not just the person requiring the care but family and friends also benefit from the services they provide.  The NHS Trusts need to ensure fluidity when it comes to beds being available and if there are no beds available; patients cannot have life-saving surgery, treatment or therapy. A & E departments then become overcrowded and even recovery rooms end up being used as bed space for those recovering from surgery. This is not sustainable in the long term and something needs to change.  The changes need to be made now.

To contact Stephanie and speak to her about your case e-mail her on or call on 020 7485 8811 

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