Background: The current cuts to social care are taking place in the context of a funding system that is described as ‘not fit for purpose’ and ‘in urgent need of reform.’ Older women are the majority of those needing care, and are the majority of carers.
The cuts and changes:
In Coventry expenditure on residential care, nursing homes and
home helps for adults fell by 2.7% between 2010 and 2011. Spending on residential care for people over 65 fell by 7.2% in the same period. Coventry City Council provided more than five and a half thousand fewer weeks care in 2010/11 than in 2009/10. Under Coventry City Council’s ‘A Better Coventry’ (ABC) review a further £1,500,000 in savings are expected in adult social care in 2012/13.
What will this mean? The agencies and organisations we spoke to compared Coventry favourably to a number of other local authorities. However they also highlighted current and potential future problems in social care including: increased charges for services; staff cuts and reductions in staff training; concerns about reduction in access to services; services contracted to the cheapest provider and potential future decline in overall standards of care. These cuts take place in the context of concerns about the quality of some of the care that is currently provided.
The Impact: If cuts to spending on adult social care lead to failings in the quality of care this will disproportionately affect older women and could have serious implications for their health, their dignity and even their life expectancy.