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30,000 people with mental health problems lose social care as funding cut by £90million

Since 2005, 30,000 people with mental health problems have lost their social care support, following a £90 million shortfall in funding due to cuts to local authority budgets, according to research by the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), based at LSE.

Adjusting for socio-demographic change[1], this would be equivalent to 63,000 fewer people with mental health problems receiving social care since 2005 and local authorities needing to spend £260million to meet their needs.

mental healthThe research, commissioned by the Care and Support Alliance (CSA), a coalition of 75 charities and organizations, examined the state of social care over a seven-year period (2005/6 – 2012/13).

Dr Jose-Luis Fernandez, PSSRU Deputy Director and co-author of the research, said: “Even before the current public spending austerity programme was introduced, the adequacy of adult social care spending was an issue of concern.

“Overall, our findings indicate significant reductions in service provision both in terms of the numbers of people receiving care and in terms of the amount of public resources invested. The scale of reductions in spending and provision are almost certainly without precedent in the history of adult social care.”

The research found that one in three local authorities halved the number of people with mental health problems receiving social care support.

Mental health problems can often be debilitating. When someone is very unwell, they might not be able to get out of bed for days. They may need support to get washed and dressed, and may not leave the house for long periods of time. Social workers are lifelines for people with mental health problems. Their support is hugely varied and could be anything from helping people get support to do their food shopping or get washed and dressed, or going on a bus with them to the local shops as they can find being in crowded spaces too overwhelming.

Changes in the patterns of social care provision in England: 2005/6 to 2012/13

[1] Results have been standardised. The standardised figures project what spending should be, and how many people should get services, if the same level of support was offered as in 2005/6. This adjusts for anticipated increases in the number of people using services, population density, standardised mortality ratio, disability-free life expectancy, availability of informal care, take-up of disability benefits, area type.

Posted: Tuesday 11 March 2014 

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