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Social care crisis: Councils receive 5,100 new requests for adult care EVERY DAY amid soaring demand

Councils in England are being swamped with 5,100 new requests for adult social care every day, figures have revealed.

Local authorities last year spent £17.9billion on caring for adults – £402million (2.3 per cent) more than the year before.

While the total number of people relying on long-term care is going down, 1.3million people contacted their local council for help in 2017-18. 

Experts say the system is at ‘breaking point’ and the number of people receiving care is only going down because councils are rationing it.

They warn all councils are facing financial pressure to look after their residents and the problem will only get worse unless there are big investments by the Government.

Hampshire has the biggest demand for care, with residents making 68,920 requests for help last year, followed by Suffolk, Kent and Derbyshire.

Experts say the care system is at 'breaking point' as councils are dealing with 5,100 requests for adult social care every day, and spent £17.9bn on the sector last year

Experts say the care system is at ‘breaking point’ as councils are dealing with 5,100 requests for adult social care every day, and spent £17.9bn on the sector last year

The NHS figures come in the middle of a recruitment crisis in the care sector, an ageing UK population, and overcrowding in A&E departments and hospitals.

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said today: ‘With people living longer, increases in costs and decreases in funding, adult social care is at breaking point. 

‘Councils in England will have seen their core funding from central government reduced by £16 billion between 2010 and 2020.

‘Over recent years, councils have protected adult social care relative to other services. 

‘But adult social care services still face a £3.5billion funding gap by 2025 just to maintain existing standards of care. Action is needed now. 

‘The Government needs to address immediate funding pressures in its upcoming Budget and ensure its forthcoming Green Paper will deliver reforms to future-proof the long term sustainability of adult social care.’ 

Nearly three quarters of people needing care are aged over 65, but the number of people aged between 18 and 64 who asked for help rose by 2.6 per cent last year. 

There were a total of 1.8million requests for social care – an increase of 1.6 per cent on 2016-17.

Most of the money – £14billion, or 77.9 per cent – was spent on long term care in residential or nursing homes or in the community.

Only one in five of the requests were related to someone being released from hospital – 77.1 per cent came from people living in the community.

And 71.6 per cent came from people aged over 65. 

‘People may be surprised that the numbers receiving care are falling when we know need is high and rising,’ said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK.

‘But this is because there is nowhere near enough money in the system so care is increasingly being rationed.

‘Every local council is struggling to some extent because of lack of care funding and care staff but some places are harder hit than others, meaning older people face a real lottery when it comes to getting care.


  1. Hampshire (68,920)
  2. Suffolk (51,960)
  3. Kent (49,135)
  4. Derbyshire (47,435)
  5. Devon (39,265)
  6. Bradford (39,065)
  7. Calderdale, West Yorkshire (36,675)
  8. Lancashire (36,515)
  9. Lincolnshire (34,330)
  10. Birmingham (34,315)

Source: NHS Digital 


  1. Isles of Scilly (50)
  2. City of London (130)
  3. Rutland, East Midlands (1,490)
  4. Camden, London (1,495)
  5. Bedford (1,790)
  6. Bracknell Forest (1,935)
  7. Merton, London (2,315)
  8. Slough (2,345)
  9. Halton, Cheshire (2,585)
  10. Telford and Wrekin (2,640) 

Source: NHS Digital 

‘Unless the Government pumps a lot more funding into care in the budget next week the picture will only get worse and more older people will lose out.’ 

The figures were released in the NHS report, Adult Social Care Activity and Finance, England 2017-18, which breaks the requests and spending down area by area.

In September this year it was revealed that eight per cent of care jobs are empty, with at least 110,000 new workers needed to meet the need.

And Skills for Care, a training charity, estimates an extra 650,000 jobs will need to be created in the next 17 years to be able to meet rising demand.

Experts also warned in medical journal The Lancet in August that the number of elderly people needing 24-hour care will rise to more than a million by 2038.

The pressured social care system also spills out into the health service in general.

A report by MPs in the Public Accounts Committee in June revealed a quarter of emergency A&E patients are there because they couldn’t get care or help from a GP.

Their illnesses could have been avoided had they been properly looked after by GPs, district nursing services or the social care system, MPs said.

In response to today’s figures, a Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We recognise people are living longer, and with more complex needs.

‘That’s why we have provided local authorities access to up to £9.64billion in dedicated adult social care funding over the last three years, including £240million extra funding for local authorities to reduce pressure on the NHS this winter.

‘Our green paper due later in the year will set out our plans to reform the social care system to make it sustainable for the future.’   

Area Total requests
Hampshire 68,920
Suffolk 51,960
Kent 49,135
Derbyshire 47,435
Devon 39,265
Bradford 39,065
Calderdale 36,675
Lancashire 36,515
Lincolnshire 34,330
Birmingham 34,315
Gloucestershire 31,825
Leeds 31,720
Surrey 29,725
Nottinghamshire 28,925
Leicestershire 28,145
East Sussex 28,145
Worcestershire 27,405
Sheffield 25,730
Norfolk 25,160
Hertfordshire 24,835
Essex 24,620
Staffordshire 23,270
County Durham 22,715
Wakefield 22,285
West Sussex 22,205
Cumbria 22,005
Manchester 21,450
East Riding of Yorkshire 21,055
Dorset 20,210
Dudley 19,615
Cornwall 19,230
North Yorkshire 18,010
Redbridge 17,120
Northumberland 15,295
Sunderland 14,675
Doncaster 14,325
Kirklees 14,265
Rotherham 13,760
Oxfordshire 13,745
Leicester 13,485
Sandwell 13,465
Nottingham 13,310
Bristol, City of 13,255
Cambridgeshire 13,195
Cheshire East 13,160
Trafford 13,145
Buckinghamshire 13,090
Islington 11,790
Bolton 11,560
Kingston upon Hull, City of 11,470
North Lincolnshire 11,420
Liverpool 11,380
South Tyneside 11,355
Sefton 11,330
Wirral 11,145
North Tyneside 10,785
St. Helens 10,750
Northamptonshire 10,425
Newcastle upon Tyne 10,410
Plymouth 10,375
Coventry 10,290
Walsall 9,800
Wigan 9,750
Warrington 9,580
Wiltshire 9,440
Barnsley 9,415
Somerset 9,205
Salford 9,175
Warwickshire 9,040
Derby 8,965
North Somerset 8,755
Bexley 8,475
Swindon 8,185
North East Lincolnshire 8,175
Lewisham 8,025
Newham 7,800
Thurrock 7,625
Hackney 7,550
Rochdale 7,395
Tameside 7,375
Southampton 7,270
Barnet 7,145
Harrow 7,105
Medway 7,005
Croydon 6,945
Havering 6,770
Herefordshire, County of 6,745
Bournemouth 6,740
Waltham Forest 6,545
Hillingdon 6,485
Oldham 6,425
Lambeth 6,410
Portsmouth 6,360
Cheshire West and Chester 6,290
Torbay 6,195
Hounslow 6,190
Wolverhampton 6,170
Shropshire 6,140
Milton Keynes 6,115
Gateshead 6,075
Barking and Dagenham2 6,050
Brent 6,015
Darlington 5,945
Stockport 5,920
York 5,795
Middlesbrough 5,700
Stoke-on-Trent 5,625
Blackburn with Darwen 5,570
Central Bedfordshire 5,300
Greenwich 5,275
Redcar and Cleveland 5,240
Bath and North East Somerset 5,145
Isle of Wight 5,095
Bromley 5,030
Blackpool 5,010
Stockton-on-Tees 4,995
Luton 4,975
Solihull 4,845
Bury 4,750
South Gloucestershire 4,710
Poole 4,660
Wokingham 4,635
Brighton and Hove 4,525
Southwark 4,475
Westminster 4,325
Ealing 4,200
Haringey 4,040
Knowsley 4,010
West Berkshire 4,010
Richmond upon Thames 4,000
Wandsworth 3,975
Southend-on-Sea 3,935
Tower Hamlets 3,925
Peterborough 3,815
Kensington and Chelsea 3,575
Reading 3,505
Kingston upon Thames 3,480
Windsor and Maidenhead 3,410
Sutton 3,405
Enfield 3,345
Hartlepool 3,220
Hammersmith and Fulham 3,120
Telford and Wrekin 2,640
Halton 2,585
Slough 2,345
Merton 2,315
Bracknell Forest 1,935
Bedford 1,790
Camden 1,495
Rutland 1,490
City of London 130
Isles of Scilly 50


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