In 2015 the Department of Health introduced the much-anticipated “Care Act”, a social care reform that was hailed as the most significant of its kind in over 60 years.
Despite being heralded as revolutionary upon its arrival 12 months ago, an investigation carried out by Carers Trust has shown that the Care Act has failed to meet its original expectations from disabled people and carers around the country.
Through a published study by Carers Trust, it has been revealed that in the last year the Care Act has been detrimental to the very people it was intended to safeguard.
Not sure about the ins-and-outs of the Care Act? Watch the video below.
The Carers Trust aren’t the only group that have published a study on the Care Act. Revitalise, a company that arranges respite holidays for disabled people, has also uncovered problems with the reform via Freedom of Information requests [FOIS]
Revitalise research found that over half of England’s local authorities spent less overall on services for disabled people and carers* since the Care Act than within the year before it was introduced. They reduced their spending collectively by £397 million. The study found 42% of local authorities reduced spending on respite provision by an average of around £900,000 each.
Despite the Care Act’s initial remit promising legal entitlement of disabled people and carers to individual support needs assessment, Revitalise found that in the last 12 months there have been fewer needs assessments. In fact, according to the FOIs, half of all local authorities carried out an average of 22% fewer care assessments after the Care Act was introduced.
A mirror Revitalise study of disabled people and carers supported the FOI findings, showing that over half of the disabled people and carers claimed their funding had been reduced or had not kept up with inflation since the Care Act was introduced. Two thirds of those surveyed said they felt more isolated now and 44% said they were struggling to make ends meet.
In light of the study’s findings, Revitalise is calling for an overhaul of the Care Act to ensure that all disabled people and carers within local authority jurisdictions are approached and offered Carer or Needs Assessments. They also want more funding from central government to enable local authorities to fulfil the pledges contained within the Act.
The charity is also reinforcing its call for sufficient respite breaks funding to be a key element of all social care provision.
Revitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds commented:
“It has become abundantly clear from our own research – and the new Carers Trust study published today – that the Care Act has failed to make any meaningful impact on the quality of life of the people it sets out to support,and in many respects their situation appears to have got worse.
“The similarities between our research and that of Carers Trust are astonishing; they paint a sobering picture of a missed opportunity to make a material difference to the lives of disabled people and carers across the country.
“Despite its very laudable intentions, our fear is that until all those agencies with a stake in the Care Act really invest in its success, disabled people and carers will continue to struggle to achieve even the most basic quality of life.”