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English public concerned about getting care

Published on 31 August 2014 07:00 AM

The English public has given a ‘vote of no confidence' in the care system

75 leading charities: one of the largest ever independent surveys of social care in England shows people back funding increase


  • 6 in 10 people are not confident they will receive sufficient care; that goes up to 7 in 10 for over 60s
  • Two thirds of those aged 60 and over in England believe government should be doing more in this area and less in others. 
  • Along with health services, support for elderly and disabled people is the biggest priority for where the electorate would want to see the Government increase expenditure
  • 1 in 3 in England rely on, or have a close family member that relies on, the care system

The public has sent a loud, powerful and unambiguous message that they are concerned about getting care if they or their loved ones can't live on their own.

Released today, one of the largest ever surveys of public's attitudes to social care, reveals the sheer number of people who rely on - or have a close family member that relies on - care to do tasks as basic as washing or eating.

But the YouGov survey of more than 4,500 people in England, commissioned by the Care and Support Alliance (CSA), shows around a quarter believe that if they need it, they will receive enough care that would allow them a good quality of life.

The majority of people are demanding the Government acts.

Along with services such as hospitals/GP surgeries, support for elderly and disabled people is the biggest priority for where electorate would want to see the Government increase expenditure.

Fewer and fewer people getting support

When it comes to just older people the figures are even starker.

Two thirds of people aged 60+ believe the government should be doing more.  Around 7 in 10 are not confident they will receive good care.

The independent poll was commissioned by 75 of the country's leading charities who are campaigning, alongside the millions of older and disabled people and their carers, for a properly funded care system.

The CSA argues that the system is on its knees, with demand going up at the same time as chronic under-funding, leading to a tightening of eligibility, has seen fewer and fewer people getting support.

Councils report that some £3.5bn has come out of the care system.

LSE research shows that 500,000 people who would have got care in 2009 are no longer entitled to it.

Government 'to roll out major reforms to care'

Age UK are reporting that almost 900,000 older people in England and Wales who struggle with such basic tasks as washing and dressing are being left to fend for themselves.

In June the Government confirmed that it's not planning to reverse the trend that has seen the majority of councils restrict care to only those with the highest needs when it sets its national level for eligibility due to come into effect in April 2015.

The findings come as the Government prepares to roll out major reforms to care - including ending the postcode lottery, capping care costs and rolling out the Better Care Fund, and as the debate about integrating care and health intensifies ahead of the publication of the findings of the Barker Commission.

Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said:

‘Care is well and truly an election issue. The message from the public is loud and unambiguous. It's a real vote of no confidence. They are worried about who will care for them or their loved ones, if they can no longer do basic things for themselves.

‘Above all they want the Government to invest more money in the system. Every day, our 75 organisations hear horror stories of older and disabled people who struggle to get the support they need to simply get up, get dressed and get out of the house. This is also putting unbearable pressure on family carers.

‘Chronic underfunding has led to a dramatic rationing of care. We need a long term funding commitment for social care by the Government. The new Care Act, and the Better Care Fund, are bold and ambitious bids to address the crisis, and move us closer' to a preventive, more integrated, system that keeps people out of crisis and living independently. But unless care is properly funded it will be the next Government's first crisis.'

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says:

‘These polls underline how anxious older people now are as more and more people become aware of just how broken our social care system has become and realise that they really can't rely on care to be there for them if and when they need it.
‘People of all ages deserve to feel confident that if they need help they will get it. instead, hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people and their families are being abandoned to sink or swim alone and simply struggle as best they can with those everyday tasks such as dressing, or washing, or going to the toilet or preparing food, that the rest of us take for granted.'

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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