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Social workers reveal the extent of social care meltdown

Published on 19 September 2017 11:01 PM

The findings of a new survey of social workers provides shocking evidence of just how threadbare the social care safety net in England has become. 

Social workers 'tell it how it is'

An online survey by Community Care Magazine, supported by the Care and Support Alliance, gives a unique insight into how many social workers feel about the frustrations of their day to day work.

The 469 responses from social workers from every region of England reveal the incredibly difficult position they are in as they strive to support people in desperate need without enough cash in the system.

In addition:

  • 68% of respondents said they felt expected to reduce care packages because of cost pressures in their local authority
  • 37% said they believed they couldn't get people the care they needed
  • 28% were not confident that the reduced care packages they had to administer were 'fair and safe'.
  • 81% said family and friends are being expected to provide more support to 'fill in' where care has been reduced.

Support to take part in social and leisure activities reduced

The survey also found that:

  • Social and leisure activities support was the type of help which was most commonly being reduced (72%)
  • Help with domestic tasks such as food shopping and cleaning was also reduced (67%)
  • More than 4 in 5 respondents did not think there was enough variety and quality of social care provision in their areas for people to choose the care they received.

A worsening situation without action

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK and co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said: "This is the first time that England's social workers have spoken out in such numbers, blowing the whistle on just what a drastic state of decline social care is now in."

"The social workers' descriptions of what the cuts mean in practice for disabled people, those with mental health problems and older people make for tough reading and it is impossible not to be angered and saddened by them."

"It is though important to remember that while social care is a service administered by local authorities, ‘the buck stops with Ministers' and the suffering that vulnerable people are experiencing today is the direct result of the decisions successive governments have made to underfund social care. The extra £2 billion this Government has pledged will certainly help but the funding gap is far larger, so the situation is certain to worsen without further action."

If you have a complaint about the social care you have received or want to make an appeal about a decision regarding your care, you can read our guide on appeals and complaints to your local Authority. You can also call out advice line on 0800 169 2081 for more advice.

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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