Demand for adult social care soars in Hertfordshire

Published: 08 Mar 2017

New figures released today by Hertfordshire County Council show a 20 per cent increase in demand for adult social care to support discharges from hospitals across the county. 

This surge in demand highlights the need for additional funding, which is anticipated to be announced in the Spring Budget later today.

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health at Hertfordshire County Council, said:

“The increased funding for adult social care is indeed welcome, but unfortunately this will be little more than a sticking plaster on the current social care funding crisis.

“Like everywhere else in the country Hertfordshire’s health and social care system is coming under significant pressure at the moment; core funding for adult social care has decreased at a time when we face the dual pressures of increased demand for services and an ageing population.

“In Hertfordshire we’ve seen a 20 per cent increase in demand for adult care services from people leaving hospitals over the last two years; that’s an extra 155 people a month, every month.

“The financial cost of this can vary depending on the care package needed. But the real cost is the human impact; there is a lack of rehabilitation on hospital wards and people are not being supported to walk - less than 900 steps a day can cause a loss of functional mobility. Because of this people are being discharged with high levels of need, and are more dependent on care support which adds to the demand on care, which leads to more instances of delayed discharge.”

Nationally over the last two years, the number of people being delayed in hospital because there is no social care has increased by 90 per cent; Hertfordshire County Council has bucked that trend and our delays have actually decreased by seven per cent. This saves the NHS money and is better for people.

Colette added: “We are already implementing a three per cent social care precept added to our residents’ council tax bills. This will help us to keep pace with increasing costs and ensure that our adult social care budgets are protected.

“We have no plans to make cuts to this valuable area of our work but we are calling on the Government to take responsibility and find a more appropriate and sustainable means of funding adult social care in the future, rather than asking for more and more from council tax payers.”