Millions spent by Islington Council on long term adult social care

Islington council spent tens of millions of pounds on providing adult social care last year, new figures show. Think tank doubts this is enough.

By Andrew Dowdeswell, Data Reporter

A person pushes another in a wheelchair as they both look across fields at a sunset
Photo by Dominik Lange on Unsplash

Islington council spent tens of millions of pounds on providing adult social care last year as spending on services across England reached a record high, new figures show.

In his autumn statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a further £4.7 billion for adult social care up to 2024-25, aimed at aiding hospital discharge rates and freeing up beds, and providing local authorities with more money for services.

But health think tank Nuffield Trust said budgets are being stretched due to inflationary pressures, and the system needs long-term funding to address severe workforce and capacity shortages.

NHS Digital figures show total expenditure on adult social care in Islington was £126.2 million in the year to March.

Of this, £23.3 million was spent on council-run services, £101.6 million on external businesses offering adult social care, and a further £1.4 million on grants to local charities to provide support.

The majority of the funding (77%) went towards providing long-term care.

Islington council can offset the amount it spends on providing care through various income and funding streams, such as investment from the NHS and joint arrangements with patients.

Last year, it received £28.1 million, meaning its gross spending on providing adult social care sat at £98.3 million – up from £92.9 million in 2020-21.

Gross expenditure is used by the NHS to monitor how much adult social care costs local authorities each year.

This includes patients paying for services themselves – which amounted to £11.2 million in Islington in 2021-22.

Across England, gross spending on adult social care services rose for the sixth successive year, reaching £22 billion – the highest point in real and cash terms since records began in 2005-06.

But despite the continued rise in investment, as well as Mr Hunt’s added funding announced in the autumn statement, the Nuffield Trust said the money available to deal with the increasing demand on adult social care services falls short of the required standard given the inflationary pressures local councils and providers face.

Natasha Curry, deputy director of policy at the think tank, said: “While spending on adult social care has risen for six years in a row, it followed steep cuts between 2010 and 2015 and has only just recovered to 2010 levels in real terms.

“Extra funding announced last week was welcome but it likely will only keep pace with inflationary pressures.”

Ms Curry said increasing demand due to an ageing population and a growing number of working-age disabled adults and people living with long-term conditions is also adding to the stresses on the industry.

Across England, almost 2 million new requests for care support were made last year – up from 1.9 million last year.

Of them, 4,730 were made in Islington, a decrease from 7,380 in 2020-21.

Ms Curry said: “The system needs long-term funding with a focus on addressing serious workforce shortages and limited capacity if we are to see tangible change in the quantity and quality of care available.”

The Department for Health and Social Care said it has “prioritised health and social care in the autumn statement” with up to £7.5 billion in investment made available in the next two years.

A spokesperson added that the Government is investing £15 million in international recruitment and is running its annual domestic recruitment campaign to address workforce shortages.

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