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The number of adults waiting for social care in England has risen sharply to more than 500,000, according to estimates by social work bosses.

Similar research last year put the figure at about 294,000, says the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass).

Although 16% more hours of home care are being delivered across England, this is dwarfed by an almost sevenfold increase in hours that cannot be delivered, because of a shortage of care workers.

In the first three months of this year, 170,000 hours of home care each week could not be delivered, the survey suggests.

An excess bed day in the NHS costs between £2,089 and £2,532 a week for non-elective and elective inpatients, respectively, compared to about £519 for a place in residential care and less still for homecare.

This is economic lunacy, but perhaps more importantly it’s a situation that is damaging the lives of vulnerable people.

Just about the worst place for an older, or disabled person to be is in hospital. There is a myriad of bugs in an environment that institutionalises people, instead of preparing them for independence.

After years of warnings from the independent sector to local authorities that the rates were too low, the chickens have really come home to roost.

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