Rising cost of care costs blamed for increase in council spend

PUBLISHED: 07:25 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 07:25 09 November 2017

Care services account for 40 per cent of the council's annual budget.

Care services account for 40 per cent of the council's annual budget.

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An increase in care costs and a shortage of nurses have been blamed for the rising cost of adult social care in North Somerset.

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The amount of money local authorities spent on care rose by £556million in just one year, according to NHS Digital.

The figures show a 3.3 per cent increase compared to last year and NHS Digital believes it could be linked to the increasing costs in care provision.

North Somerset Council is expecting to spend £65.3 million on care services this financial year – which accounts for 40 per cent of its entire budget.

The authority cares for more than 2,800 people and spends around £26million on residential placements, £10.9million on nursing care and £9.4million on supported living.

A council spokesman said: “The cost of adult social has increased and this is the case nationally as well as in North Somerset. Since April this year, the council has seen an eight per cent increase in new people making contact with adult social care.

“Often people want an assessment of their needs, advice and support on how to care for relatives or friends but also people concerned about that they can no longer fund their own care needs.

“The number of people going into residential care remains stable but the cost of placements in residential and nursing care has increased because of rises in the national minimum wage and the additional cost of employing nursing staff in homes.

“North Somerset has a shortage of registered nurses working in nursing homes and so there is a reliance on agency staff.

“Home care costs have also increased and this is due to the number of older people becoming more frail and the inability of family carers to provide care to loved ones, this often results in home care packages increasing over time.

“The number of children with significant health problems are living into adulthood and requiring care when they reach 18 years old and these also contribute to the increase costs of adult social care.

“Adult social care is meeting these challenges and looking at increased use of occupational therapy aids and telecare to try to manage the demand but the need for services is likely to increase as people live longer and become increasingly frail.”

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