More Norfolk families going private to 'top up' care, figures reveal
More than a third of adults receiving social care in Norfolk are paying private providers to top up their support, new figures show.
This is increasingly common across the country, with the Local Government Association (LGA) saying the greater uptake of private services is caused by stretched council resources.
The adult social care survey, of 508 care receivers in Norfolk, shows that 25 per cent of people were topping up social care out of their own pocket in 2017-18.
Including those whose families paid towards their care, it was 35 per cent.
Across England, 36.7 per cent of social care receivers or their families paid to top up their social care in 2017-18, up from 35.3 per cent in the previous year - an estimated 9,000 more people.
Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said that the increase in private care uptake was “a further symptom of a system under significant pressure.”
He said: “With people living longer, increases in costs and decreases in funding, adult social care is at breaking point.
“Over recent years, councils have protected adult social care relative to other services. But the scale of the overall funding picture for local government means adult social care services still face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care.
“The likely consequences are more and more people being unable to get quality and reliable care and support.”
Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said: “People entitled to free care because of low income and high needs have always been able to pay a bit more for added extras, but it seems this provision is increasingly being used by providers and councils simply to raise more cash for regular care.
“Care needs a big injection of public funds or many older people in need of support will continue to receive a very raw deal.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We want everyone to have access to the care and support they need. Our social care system is based on a principle of shared responsibility between the state and the public.
“We have provided local authorities with access to up to £9.6 billion in dedicated social care funding over three years and later this year will set out our plans to reform the system to make it sustainable for the future.”
Of those surveyed about their social care in Norfolk, 88 per cent said they were satisfied with it.