Following BBC One’s Panorama: Crisis In Care, Part Two: Who Pays? programme on 5 June 2019, Hft has issued the following statement.

Hilary Crowhurst, Executive Director of Operations and Development at Hft, commented:

“The second half of Panorama’s documentary series on social care showed the human cost of a social care system in need of reform.

“As well as focusing on the challenges faced by individuals and families involved in receiving social care, and the financial difficulties being faced by local authorities, we also saw how providers are struggling to cope in a challenging financial climate. The documentary showed the hard choices made as fees continue to fall – whether that is not being able to invest in the future of services, or the devastating impacts on staff and the people we support, should a provider be forced to hand a contract back to local authorities.   

“Hft’s own Sector Pulse Check report showed that 59% of social care providers have had to hand back contracts to local authorities in the past year due to financial pressures. As a charity that has contracts with over 120 local authorities, we see the challenges being faced by Somerset Council and by the providers featured, being repeated across the country.

“However, it was disappointing that the documentary focused largely on care for older people. Learning disability support accounts for over one-third of adult social care spend in England and it is the fastest growing. In Somerset alone, it accounts for 20% of their total adult social care spend. Unlike older people, social care for working age adults does not have self-funders, and so we are funded almost entirely by the local authorities for the vital support we provide to adults with learning disabilities.

“Over the past two weeks, Panorama has done more to raise awareness of the challenges being faced by the social care sector than any of our leading politicians. We need to look at adult social care in all of its parts – working age adults as well as the elderly. This is a national crisis that requires a national solution.

“It is clear that the current system is simply not delivering the best outcomes for anybody involved in social care. With the continued delays to the government green paper, providers, commissioners, families and people supported by the sector need to work together to find innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges we face.”

Notes to editors

For further information please call our media enquiries line on 0117 906 1697.

About Hft

Hft is a UK charity supporting more than 2,900 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance