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Adult social care staffing problems.

Adult social care firms are struggling to hire, retain and train staff because of local authority budget cuts, a survey of senior officials suggests.

Local authorities in England are facing a £1.1bn shortfall this year, on top of "almost unendurable" cuts since 2010, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) warns.

The survey, completed by 147 directors of adult social services for councils in England, suggests that funding reductions to social care budgets have totalled £4.6bn since 2010 - a 31 per cent overall reduction.

Budgets for adult social care - which provides practical support to people due to illness, disability, old age or a low income - will reduce by a further £500m in cash terms this year, it said.

The report warns: "Taking the growth in numbers of older and disabled people into account, this means that an additional £1.1bn would be needed to provide the same level of service as last year."

It said some councils had made savings by freezing fees paid to providers, but care providers were now also facing financial problems. Some companies - particularly those in southern England - are struggling to attract staff, amid increasing concern about the quality of care, it said.

ADASS president Ray James says: "What is at stake is the continuing capacity of adult social care to sustain services to those in greatest need. In virtually all our authorities, the number in need is growing, while the complexity of their needs is increasing."

ADASS called for the government to "protect essential care and support services to the most vulnerable members of our community.

But a government spokesman said the survey "ignores" a commitment to invest £10bn in health services which are being "joined up" with social care by 2020.







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