Second Panorama film set for broadcast

The second of two Panorama documentary films about the pressures facing social care across the country will be aired on Wednesday at 9pm on BBC1.

The films are the result of ten months filming with Somerset County Council’s adult social care teams, shining a light on the incredible work going on in care and the pressures the system faces as growing demand outstrips funding.

The first episode, broadcast on 29 May, is thought to have attracted an audience of millions and has helped bring national attention to the issue and kick-started the debate about the future of social care.

The second episode features one of Somerset’s Micro-Providers – small scale, sometimes single-person care businesses that are one of the innovative ways the council is helping meet some of the care needs of a rural county.

Councillor David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “The second episode is every bit as powerful and moving at the first and I urge everyone to watch it.

“The future of social care is something that will have an impact on every community in this country and I am pleased that by taking part in these films we have helped push it up the national agenda.

“This country desperately needs a plan for the long-term funding of social care and a national debate about how we want social care to work in the future and what role so

Both the County Council Network (CCN) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have praised Somerset for helping tell the national story, highlighting the need for reform of social care and a long-term funding plan to secure its future.

This is the first time Panorama has devoted two hours to a single topic and the audiences at preview screenings in London and Taunton have described the films as “moving”, “powerful” and “gut-wrenching”.

Research by the CCN estimates that,by 2024/25 councils will need to be spending an extra £6.1bn every year on Adult Social Care, compared to 2015/16.

Councillor David Williams, CCN spokesman for Health and Social Care, and Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We applaud Somerset for stepping forward to demonstrate the pressures within local care services as well as reflecting the commitment of local government to do the best for residents.

“This is not only a local issue; it is a national issue and a topic successive governments have been unable to find the answer to.”

ADASS President, Julie Ogley, said: “This is not just a Somerset story, but a national one facing all councils. We applaud everyone in Somerset for their courage in sharing their personal experiences and the film-makers for their unique portrayal of the range of perspectives in a sensitive, touching and powerful way.”

The Panorama ‘Crisis in Care’ films follow case studies through the care system, showing the remarkable work of Adult Social Care Workers, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, care providers and the voluntary sector.

They document incredible stories of families and unpaid carers looking after loved ones, and the difficult decisions that come with the growing demand for care from an ageing population at a time of limited funding.

In 20 years, 24 per cent of England’s population will be aged 65 or over, in Somerset it will be 32 per cent. By 2035, 12 per cent of England’s population with be aged 65 or over and living with a long-term illness, in Somerset it will be 15 per cent.

Stephen Chandler, Somerset’s Director of Adult Services. “It’s been reassuring to see the impact these films are having on those who have seen them. They set out to bring social care to life and all the human stories that go with it – many of them heart-breaking.

“They are already starting to raise the profile and start a debate, and that is why we got involved. We need to make sure the debate then turns into action. The future of social care in a hugely important issue for this country and we hope that these films can play some part in pushing it to the top of the political and public agenda where it belongs.”

  • 38% of Somerset’s net budget is spent on adult social, care, that’s £126m, £30m of which comes from ‘non-recurrent’ grants.
  • The Local Government Association estimates that by 2025 the national adult social care funding gap will be around £3.5billion.
  • Somerset Adult Social Care services support around 6,500 people with home, residential or nursing care.
  • 92.5% of care the 280+ care providers in Somerset are rated Good or Outstanding by the CQC. Nationally it’s 83.5%.
  • Number of people aged 65+

2019: Somerset = 25% (139,500) England = 18% (10,366,035)

2039: Somerset = 32 % (201,310) England = 24% (14,804,3401)

  • 65+ with long-term illness

2019: Somerset = 11% (62,517)     England = 9% (5,073,816)

2035: Somerset = 15% (90,528)     England = 12% (7,099,459)