A total of 1.3 million adults received social services in England in 2012-2013, a reduction of 9% on 2011-2012 statistics and a significant 25% drop since 2007-2008.
The report shows the biggest fall was in the number of people benefiting from community-based services, with 10% fewer adults (down to 1.1 million) receiving support compared to 2011-2012.
And the number of people receiving residential care also fell to 209,000, down 2% from 2011-2012, with nursing care recipients following a similar, but less severe pattern, with figures falling less than 1%.
But the report does show that the number of people receiving self-directed care (also known as a personal budget) has increased by 16% as has the number of carers receiving self-directed support – up by 32% from 2011-12.
The figures are included in Community Care Statistics, Social Services Activity, England – 2012-13, published by the HSCIC this week.
Responding to the publication, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:
“These figures show how increasingly desperate the care crisis is with the numbers of people receiving care falling, as are the number of people actually being assessed to see if they need support.
“It’s clear that frontline cuts are leaving older people struggling on alone whilst living with chronic illnesses and disability. We already know that there are hundreds and thousands of older people who need help with basic tasks such as washing, dressing or cleaning their teeth and who do not receive it.
“The care system is fragmenting and nothing will change until the Government accepts the fact that the funding system has failed and acts so that adequate funds are made available. Legislative reform is vital but pointless with insufficient funding in place.”
A call to increase investment
The news comes after over 70 charities called on the government to increase investment in social care to ensure that those who need support to live independently get the help they need.
The Care and Support Alliance commissioned the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics to calculate how the numbers of older and disabled people receiving social care has changed over the past five years.
As reported on ehospice, the study found that the number of people receiving social care has fallen five years in a row – by a total of 347,000 since 2008.
Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said: “The government has put forward strong proposals in its Care Bill, which will greatly improve a social care system which is on its knees.
“But it’s becoming clear that a huge number of older and disabled people will not see any of the benefits of the new system, because of plans to tightly restrict who gets care. This will place huge pressure on family carers.
“We want the government to have the courage to see its bold plans through, and make sure that those who need support to live independently – to get up, get washed, and get dressed, and get out of the house – get council care. To do this, the government needs to commit to properly funding the social care system.”