The successes and challenges of adult social care in Coventry

Published Friday, 08 October 2021

Coventry councillors will discuss the performance of adult social care services at its Cabinet meeting next week.

Adult social care 21

The Adult Social Care Annual Report and Key Areas of Improvement 2020/21 describes the performance of Adult Social Care and the progress made in Coventry against the priorities for the year.

It also provides specific examples of the operational activities to support service users and carers.

Cllr Mal Mutton, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “The report is shaped by the people who come into contact with adult social care services, and the case studies featured in the report provide important insights into the experience of local people.

“It outlines what is being done to improve outcomes for those that come into contact with our services and the big challenges we continue to face.”

She said: “We want to publicise the issues facing Adult Social Care in Coventry to key stakeholders, services users, and the public. At some time or other many of us will need to engage with the services provided – and that’s why it is so relevant.”

Cllr Mutton added: “I’d like to thank social care staff, Adult Social Care Stakeholder Reference Group, providers, partner organisations, and people that have been in contact with Adult Social Care along with their families and carers, for taking the time to contribute to the report.”

The Adult Social Care Annual Report reflects the performance and activities throughout the main period of the COVID-19 pandemic to date.

In 2020/21 the Council spent £103.2m on Adult Social Care compared to equivalent spend of £95m in 2019/20, with the increase largely driven by additional resources provided to the care market in response to the pandemic.

The Council is already seeing demand for Adult Social Care returning to and in some cases exceeding pre-pandemic levels with potential additional pressures associated with some people approaching social care later than otherwise would be the case, and with more complex needs as a result.

Cllr Mutton said: “There is much uncertainty in the months and years ahead because of increased pressures we are experiencing plus the impact of the reforms to social care announced in September 2021”

The report highlights the experience of unpaid carers who have seen their caring roles intensify and have been placed under increased pressures during the last year which has had an impact on the emotional and physical health of carers across the city.

Adult Social Care in Coventry is always looking for ways to adapt to the challenges faced.  Among the new approached developed to meet these challenges is an Enhanced Support to Carers implemented in September 2020 aimed to mitigate some of the impact on carers while a new approach to support people with mental ill-health is underway.

The Social Interventions Collective (SICoL), brings together key services involved in mental health support to promote independence and avoid hospital or residential care admissions during a mental health crisis.

The approach is centred on enabling people to take back control of their lives through working together to find solutions. What started as a group of passionate professionals working together to try something different has been recognised for its impact and has attracted three-year grant funding to develop the approach further (see pages 16-18 of the annual report).

Cllr Mutton explained: “The Enhanced Support to Carers implemented in September 2020 aimed to mitigate some of the impact on carers, while I’m really keen to see the impact of the interventions that we can make to help people struggling with a mental health crisis.”

She added: “The Secretary of State has promised a white paper on the future of social care, but this has not yet materialised. Let’s hope it doesn’t go the same way as the promised green paper, which is at least 5 years overdue and will not now see the light of day.”

If people think they may need support from social care it is really important to get in touch as soon as possible as doing so means it is more likely to be able to prevent the position from deteriorating.  There are a number of ways to contact Adult Social Care including through email at [email protected] or by phone on 024 7683 3003.

Future challenges

By 2029, the city should expect to have an additional 8,900 people aged over 65 and an additional 2,000 people aged over 85. This group of people is more likely to live with multiple health conditions that require support including:

  • Increasing numbers of adults with mental illness accessing long-term support (with a now additional impact due to COVID-19).
  • Increasing costs of care due to external factors including National Living Wage, increases to employer pension contributions and the increased complexity of the care needs that people are experiencing
  • Challenges to maintaining sufficiency and quality of the adult social care market especially given the impact of Covid-19 on the sustainability of some provision brought about by a combination of factors including heightened requirements for infection control, fluctuating demand and the presence of short-term grants.

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