Enfield Council says the costs of coronavirus on adult social care services is potentially crippling and wants urgent government funding to bridge the gap.
A combination of delayed operations, increasing demand for respite care and a loss of capacity in the voluntary and community sector because of a shortage of cash and available volunteers has dramatically increased demand – and cost - on Council provision.
Despite having to make £178 million savings in the last 10 years because of Government budget cuts and increasing pressures on services, Enfield Council has stepped up during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing comprehensive community and business support and essential services to protect local people and businesses
While Enfield Council has already spent an extra £4.5m dealing with the impact of coronavirus so far, neither the impact of delayed operations or the loss of capacity in the Voluntary and Community Sector has been fully costed, but there are concerns the bill could run into millions.
Enfield Council is forecasting financial pressures of £68m as a result of the impact of the coronavirus. The Government has pledged £17.9m in response so far, leaving an estimated shortfall in funding of £45m (taking into account capital financing savings and allocation of reserves).
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Alev Cazimoglu, said: “We have already incurred huge costs in protecting our most vulnerable residents from the impact of COVID-19 and rightly so – it is the right thing to do.
“Our concern is that many older residents will pay the price of delayed operations over the long term, failing to address chronic health conditions means those conditions will need to be managed through the use of care packages at increased cost to the Council when we are already reeling form the cost of dealing with this pandemic.
“We want the Government to fulfil its promise ‘to stand shoulder to shoulder with local government’ and provide funding to fully cover all of the costs and future pressures we have incurred in dealing with COVID-19 so that we can continue to deliver vital services and support our communities through this challenging time
“If that does not happen it may mean the Council may need to cut vital services and could reduce the Council’s ability to respond effectively to future emergencies and support local communities, if that happens, our most vulnerable residents may not get the vital support they need.”