London social care services felt the heat this summer

  • By JackGraves

The summer heatwave increased the strain on adult social care services in the capital, according to London Councils research.

63 per cent of London boroughs responding to a survey agreed that the heatwave put more pressure on their adult social care resources. 

The survey, which was sent to all London boroughs’ adult social care departments at the start of August, found the same percentage (63 per cent) reported a heatwave-related increase in the care needs of the older and disabled Londoners using their services.

Boroughs’ feedback suggests a rise in the number of service users experiencing dehydration and breathing difficulties due to the heatwave, with more needing to attend A&E as a result.

In response to the challenging conditions, boroughs increased the number of home care visits made by their social care teams. Vulnerable adults were identified and checked to make sure they were keeping cool and drinking enough water. Social care workers redoubled efforts to promote public health advice and to liaise closely with other services, including GPs and hospitals.

Cllr Ray Puddifoot MBE, London Councils’ Executive member for health and care, said:

“While many of us have enjoyed this summer’s hot weather, prolonged heatwaves pose real dangers for vulnerable adults in our community. There’s a serious risk of dehydration and other health care complications.

“The high temperatures from earlier in the summer were difficult for many Londoners receiving social care. Our research suggests the heatwave brought a spike in levels of demand, which clearly increased the strain on boroughs’ adult social care departments.

“Boroughs’ frontline social care teams worked exceptionally hard in supporting their service users and keeping them safe. We’re grateful for their commitment to providing good care.  

“Weather extremes and other public health challenges remind us how lucky we are to be able to rely on services such as social care, and how important it is to ensure they’re properly resourced.”

Adult social care provided by London boroughs is essential for supporting hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people across the capital, but services are dealing with tight budget constraints while levels of demand continue to grow.

Analysis shows that the funding gap for adult social care in London is set to reach £300 million by 2020. London Councils is calling on the government to use the upcoming social care green paper to address this.