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By Debbie le Quesne

Shortfall in immediate care provision, says data release report

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Nearly half of local authorities are unable to provide care immediately for those who request it, according to information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Freedom of Information requests submitted to 103 UK councils for the period 1st – 31st January 2015 revealed 48 per cent were unable to find a care provider to cover all requests. The number of unfilled hours ranged from 21 hours to a staggering 4,124 over the period.

A report in the online magazine Care Industry News said: “The average number of hours not placed at the first point of asking across all councils was 582 per month – equivalent to the hours worked by five additional care workers. When assessing just those councils where not all care was immediately placed, this rose to an average of 1,221 hours per month, equivalent to 10 extra care workers.”

The findings by Prestige Nursing + Care suggests that if projected across all 433 UK principle authorities, this equates to 2,165 extra carers that are urgently needed, rising to 4,330 among those councils where not all care was immediately placed.

Tighter budgets, an increasing ageing population, the austerity measures generally, the fact that successive governments have not grasped the nettle of funding for social care, have taken their toll. It must also be noted, however, that the data does not give any clues on the timescale of care delivery beyond the initial request. For me, that would be far more telling.

The future of social care is hard top map, but we do know the over-65 population in the UK is projected to have grown by 23 per cent in 2015 to almost 11 million, and rising by 49 per cent by 2035.

The figures can be alarming and this blog is not meant to sensationalise the crisis we face in the care sector. But with the dawning of a new government just hours away, I would very much like to request that social care funding – well, we all know that hard cash is the bottom line – to at least have priority on the agenda of the winners in this high profile political race to Number 10.

May I add, this blog is not political, West Midlands Care Association has no political alliance, and I simply just want what’s best in moving forward the delivery of quality, dignified care for those who are deserving of it.

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