Long-term care spending reaches £14bn

Long-term care spending climbed by £369m to reach £14bn in 2017/18, according to a financial report published by NHS Digital.

Overall, the number of people receiving long-term care has decreased each year since 2015/16, mainly driven by a reduction in the number of over 65s receiving such care, the report said.

Local authorities’ gross spending on adult social care was £17.9bn in 2017/18, a rise of £402m from the previous year.

Of the £21.3bn total expenditure, 71.5% was paid by local authorities – a 1.8% increase on the year before.

NHS Digital said the increase may be the result of councils raising extra money through the adult social care precept, which gave local authorities the power to increase taxes to help pay for services.

This year councils received a higher number of requests for support – 1,843,920 compared with 1,824,415 in 2016/17, with the over 65s accounting for 71.6%. This equates to more than 5,000 requests for support from new clients each day.

George McNamara, director of policy and influencing at older people’s charity Independent Age, said a 0.4% real terms expenditure increase since 2016-17 was ‘pitiful’ when councils face over 5,000 support requests a day.

By 2019/20, he said 42% of local authorities will have ‘maxed out’ their adult social care precept funding, saying prolonged chronic underfunding is leaving older people at ‘serious risk’ of neglect.