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Three quarters of MPs believe there is a crisis in social care

Poll reveals how cuts to social care is affected politicians' constituencies

Published on 5th June 2019

Three quarters of MPs have said that there is a crisis in social care in England, according to a poll of MPs conducted by ComRes and commissioned by a coalition of national health organisations.

Three out of five MPs said their constituencies are suffering as a result of cuts to social care and three quarters said there is a crisis.

Furthermore, two thirds (65%) of MPs say the number of people in their constituencies coming to them with concerns over social care has increased during their time in office, with nearly half (46%) saying it has increased significantly.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said: “The scandal of social care in this country is leaving record numbers of vulnerable people to struggle every day without the basic care and support they need. And millions of family carers are exhausted and at the end of their tether."

The survey, commissioned by a coalition of national health organisations who are calling on the government to end the crisis in care, also found:

- Concern was highest among MPs in the north of England where two thirds (62%) of MPs strongly agreed that their constituents are suffering because of cuts to care.

- There is little faith among MPs that the green paper will improve standards of social care provision, with only half agreeing that it will.

- More than half (58%) of Conservative MPs agree there is a crisis in the sector.

Niall Dickson added: “The most striking findings from this research is the sheer number of MPs who agree that there is a crisis in social care, alongside the vast numbers who have noticed a significant increase in care problems and cases raised by their constituents.

“However, there is a marked lack of political consensus on how to solve the problem. This simply isn’t good enough considering this is the greatest social challenge of our time. The Prime Minister came to power promising to fix the crisis in care but failed – her successor cannot afford to do the same. The social care system needs urgent funding and support in the short term and a long-term solution delivered as part of the next Spending Review. Now is the time for MPs of all parties to work together to agree a solution that ends the unfairness faced by thousands of people every day," he added.

The poll of 138 MPs was commissioned by the NHS Confederation, which leads Health for Care, a coalition of 15 organisations representing the breadth of the NHS which have united to make the case for a sustainable social care system to be delivered on the back of a new long-term funding settlement.

However, while there is consensus among MPs about there being a crisis in care, politicians are evenly split in their support across four potential solutions, with each attracting about a fifth of MPs’ support.

- 21 per cent agree to introducing free personal care;

- 20% believe as solution would be an auto-enrolment insurance system;

- 19% back a cap on costs and a revised ‘floor’ to the means test – a variant of the Dilnot proposal

- 18% suggest improving the current system (18%).

Broken down by the two main political parties, Conservative MPs are most likely to support the option of an auto-enrolment insurance system (30%) and Labour MPs are most likely to support the introduction of free personal care (40%).

Julie Ogley, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said: “Social care is at crisis point as this survey rightly demonstrates, with MPs across the country and the political spectrum increasingly realising this is a growing issue in their communities which has to be urgently addressed.

“People who rely on and receive social care should be able to live the lives they want to lead, in the best way possible. Good social care enhances health and wellbeing, increases independence, choice and control. It is distinctive, valued, and personal.
“Carers and those who have given up their jobs or other commitments to look after family members in need should also receive respite, something which social care services can provide but are finding it increasingly difficult to do so.

“However, our funding system is failing to keep pace with the rising needs of people in England. We are living longer but need more complex care and support.

“This survey should be a further clarion call for a long-term, cross-party, sustainable funding solution for social care, which needs to be urgently addressed in the upcoming Spending Review," she concluded.

Crisis in care: what do MPs think?

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