Warning that funding to look after Norfolk's elderly is 'unsustainable'
The pressure on how Norfolk’s increasingly elderly population will be cared for in years to come will be laid bare today, when county councillors are told the current system of funding is unsustainable.
Council tax bills will soon start arriving through people’s letterboxes, which include a 3pc precept to pay for adult social care - but that extra money will barely address the growing demand on services in the county.
Norfolk County Council spends £1m per day on adult social care and demand is growing.
The number of over 65s in the county has gone up by nearly a third - from 209,700 in 2015 to a predicted 274,800 in 2030, with the over 85 population due to rise by 77pc over the same period.
Evidence indicates that the current supply of beds in care homes for Norfolk is estimated to be 9,921 - around 660 beds fewer than the current identified need.
If current trends continue and the proportion of people living in care homes remains static the estimated need in Norfolk by 2036 will be 17,949 beds - 8,028 more beds than the current supply.
Norfolk County Council is looking to reduce the demand on residential care by finding ways to keep people independent and in their own homes.
But James Bullion, director of adult social services, will today tell councillors that the pressures of rising demand, growing costs and reduced funding means the current funding model for adult social care is not sustainable in the long term.
The government is planning a Green Paper in the summer over how older people’s care should be funded.
And the council’s adult social care committee will be asked to help shape Norfolk’s response to that consultation.
Mr Bullion said: “From the point of view of officers we feel, and the association for the directors of adult social services feels, that the politicians have got to grapple with whether or not there is a state solution, a solution involving private individuals, or a mix between the two.
“We feel that local councils cannot solve what is a national question.
“By 2019/20, the government grant for councils will have stopped and we will be relying on local rates and local taxes to pay for adult social care and I think the Green Paper needs to address whether that’s fair, when the NHS is funded.”