A large independent survey has resulted in a joint statement from 75 top charities warning about the ‘chronic underfunding’ of social care in the UK.
This vote of ‘no confidence’ has resulted in about 25% of English people’s non-belief that they will obtain adequate care when they reach old age. This comes despite the Coalition government’s system reforms.
The survey showed that participants rank elderly and disabled care second only to health as a national priority. They justified an increase in spending ahead of transport, the armed forces, policing or schools.
YouGov undertook a poll of about 4700 people in England, on behalf of the Care and Support Alliance. The poll also discovered that about one third of the total population is reliant on the care system in one way or another, be it personally or for a close family member.
It found that around 70% believe that they will not be able to afford care, either for themselves or a family member and this figure increased to 77% among those over the age of 60.
The poll showed that 67% of those aged 60 and over thought that government funding should be diverted from other sectors to social care.
The fear of further cuts has already cost the Conservative government support with a huge number of voters considering a switch to other political parties. Although 57% of 2010 Tory voters believe they will obtain good care, only 50% of those who will maintain their vote next time have concerns about this issue, which suggests that some of those showing concern have already moved to other parties.
The poll results come ahead of a publication which could determine the future English care system.
The results indicated that only 27% felt confident that should they or a loved-one require aid with tasks such as getting out of bed or washing, they would not receive adequate care to enjoy a ‘good quality of life’. About 60% said they did not feel confident and one in seven was unsure.
Although 35% of those in their late teens and early 20s think they would obtain good care, confidence levels fall and by the 40-year age group, only 25% felt positive. When it reached the over 60s, around 75% had no confidence at all.
Participants in the poll were provided with a list of options and asked to make a selection as to which ones should receive more funding.
Spending on hospital and local surgeries received the highest vote at 67% and 47% chose support for disabled and elderly people, with this figure increasing to 64% among those aged 60 and over.
In contrast around 27% chose schools, 21% policing, and only 15% chose the armed forces.
An adjustment of the system has resulted in the cost of care being capped for the first time. This will allow people to defer care bills which will prevent them from having to place their homes up for sale.
However, this comes at a time when there are warnings from senior care chiefs that they may not be able to guarantee the safety of the disabled and elderly in their care due to budget cuts.
The Barker Commission is set to reveal plans to combine sections of the social care system with the NHS. This merger of the two systems is required urgently to cope with the rise in demand for care due to the aging population.
The chief executive of the King’s Fund, Chris Ham, said politicians will need to confront the choices offered by the Barker Commission with honesty.
Image Credit: Tanel Teemusk