Kirklees Council is aiming to change the way it provides adult social care as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Adult social care services are under pressure as demand increases and local government finances are squeezed.

A council report says that older people have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and need more help from the local authority.

The report says 13,600 older people are ‘less steady on their feet’ since the start of the pandemic; an additional 3,600 older people can no longer manage basic daily living or personal care tasks; 16,000 older carers are less confident about letting professionals into their home; and 12,000 carers cannot walk as far or are feeling more pain since the pandemic.

Demand for council services has increased with 200 more annual referrals than three years ago, many of them more complex, and requests for hospital avoidance support is up by 30% in the last year and by almost half since 2020-21.

The council brought in consultancy firm Newton’s to help them re-design its services.

The plans include a two-year transformation programme that will ultimately seek to prevent, reduce and delay demand across the health and social care system in line with the council’s Vision for Adult Social Care.

The focus would be on effective and timely resolution of care needs; more people benefiting from wellbeing and preventative services; increasing the number of people who could benefit from care at home and maximising the use of assistive technology, equipment and housing adaptations.

The aim is to help people earlier and therefore reduce the demand for long-term care provision.

The council says more efficient ways of working will reduce costs and ultimately save £9 million to £13 million by the end of the two-year programme in 2025.

Clr Jackie Ramsay, Cabinet member for health and social care, said: “Working with people to make sure they can live well and independently is a core feature of our Vision for Adult Social Care.

“We want to promote wellbeing, independence and safety thereby reducing, delaying and preventing the demand for long-term, intensive care.

“We will build on our work to enable people to be experts in their own care and wellbeing, to help them to choose a mixture of support that will achieve the outcomes that matter to them.”