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The Big Care Survey

January 24, 2018

The Government announced last year that it will be looking at social care reform in 2018. As part of the process, they want to hear from care users and carers so that they get a picture of what the system is like today and what the people it impacts want to see changed.

We want to hear from as many people who have experience with adult social care in England to be able to tell them what it looks like now and what needs to change, so we’ve launched a survey.

We want to hear from you if you need social care or are a carer who cares for someone who needs social care. As a carer, you may also need support yourself, and we want you to respond from your perspective too. We want to get as many voices of those impacted by the crisis in social care today, so please take the time to do our survey – it takes about 15 minutes and you can remain anonymous if you’d like to.

Government responds to our petition calling for the publication of care consultation

November 24, 2017

The Government has responded to the Alliance’s call to publish a consultation on social care in early 2018.

Co-Chairs of the Care and Support Alliance – Caroline Abrahams (Charity Director at Age UK) and Mark Lever (Chief Executive at the National Autistic Society) said:

“We welcome the Government’s response to our petition that received the support of nearly 20,000 people in two weeks. This called for the Government to set out proposals on how to fix our social care system that currently means more than a million people do not get the basic care they need.

“We are pleased that the scope of the paper is wider than funding and that many individuals and organisations will be given the opportunity to feed into the consultation.However, we remain concerned that while there are separate work streams to look at the needs of working aged disabled adults and carers, it appears that their needs are not being given the same weight. We will work to ensure their voices are included in the consultation.

“Also, as the Green Paper won’t now be published until Summer 2018, we are not going to see reform until 2020 at the earliest. But it is estimated that there will be a £2.5 billion funding gap by 2019/20 which needs to be tackled while the consultation happens.

“The Government needs to plug the gap in social care funding while working on reforms that look at the whole social care system and address the needs of working age disabled adults, older people and their carers.”

The Care and Support Alliance’s response to the Government’s Budget November 2017

November 22, 2017

Co-Chairs of the Care and Support Alliance – Caroline Abrahams (Charity Director at Age UK) and Mark Lever (Chief Executive at the National Autistic Society) said:

“Today the Government failed to recognise the immediate crisis in social care, one that cannot wait for future reforms to be resolved.

“A £2.5 billion funding gap is estimated by 2019/20 (1). More than a million older and disabled people are without the care they need to do basics like get out of bed, eat, or go to the toilet (2) – let alone leave the house or take part in a social life.

“Without proper funding more people will be denied the care they need, more carers will be pushed to breaking point, more providers will go out of business and the NHS will have to spend millions more picking up the pieces of inadequate social care. Also without extra funding the threat of complete market collapse remains.

“The Government needs to plug the gap in social care funding while working on reforms that look at the whole social care system and address the needs of working age disabled adults, older people and their carers.”

The Care and Support Alliance’s response to the Government’s announcement on setting out proposals for social care

November 16, 2017

In response to the Government’s announcement on setting out proposals for social care on Wednesday 16 November, Mark Lever and Caroline Abrahams said:

“The fact that the Government has stated today that it will be bringing forward a Green Paper on Social Care, in or by the summer of 2018, is welcome news after months when it seemed nothing might happen at all. However, the Care and Support Alliance (CSA) has always been clear that our test of the Government’s proposals will be the extent to which they create a system capable of giving everyone the high quality care and support they need, whether they are disabled, an older person, or an informal carer.

“From this point of view we are very disappointed to learn that the Green Paper will be focused tightly on older people and while it is good news that there will be a parallel workstream to explore the needs of disabled adults, the jury is out for us, for now, as to whether this will be enough to deliver the balanced outcomes required. In this context we are also very concerned that the Carers’ Strategy is so long overdue.

“The fact that this Government is prepared to grasp the nettle of social care reform after so many successive governments have declined to do so is to their credit, but the CSA remains firmly of the view that the only sustainable and equitable solution for the social care crisis is one that delivers equally well for everyone with care needs in our society.”

 

Public ‘embarrassed’, as charity uncovers thousands of young disabled adults stuck in older people’s care homes

November 14, 2017

England’s social care system is failing thousands of younger disabled adults who are living in older people’s care homes, warn the MS Society and Care and Support Alliance (CSA) today. These homes were never designed for them and can’t meet their needs, and a new survey of 2,000 UK adults reveals the extent of the public’s concern:

  • Six out of 10 (61%) say they are ‘embarrassed’ by the way our country treats its disabled adults
  • Three quarters (75%) say they would be scared for their future if they needed care themselves
  • Eight in 10 (79%) want the government to urgently fix the social care system, and respondents ranked it the second most important issue facing our Government

This indicates that, across the country, almost one in seven younger disabled adults in residential care could be in homes for older people – where an estimated 70%1 of care home residents have some form of dementia.The charities claim these figures are symbolic of wider problems with social care, following a recent report showing only 32% of 18-29 year olds with multiple sclerosis (MS) have all their care needs met.2

The MS Society has today published End the Care Crisis: Stories from people affected by MS in England, as part of its campaign to make sure good quality care is available for everyone with MS that needs it. The MS Society and CSA are calling on the Government to bring forward social care proposals by early 2018 through this petition.

Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said:
“It is fundamentally wrong that younger adults with MS are living in older people’s care homes in such numbers. These facilities are rarely equipped to meet all of their needs, and this can have a hugely detrimental impact on quality of life and mental health. This is just one symptom of a social care system in crisis, where one in three people with MS don’t get the right level of care.

“In 20 years, we’ve seen at least 10 government consultations and reviews on social care, but haven’t seen the change we urgently need. Next week’s Budget is a crucial opportunity to close the funding gap, expected to reach £2.5 billion by the end of the decade. Our polling shows the British public are appalled by Government inaction and believe our country must do better to support those who need help to live independently.”

Mark Lever, Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, and Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society said:

“More than a million disabled and older people don’t get the care they need. And while more and more of us are living longer, and many of us are living longer with disabling conditions, shrinking funding means we are less and less likely to get care.

“It is deeply concerning that three quarters of the British public said they would be scared if they needed care themselves. We must have a system that provides people with the care they need, when they need it. The Government must act urgently to bring forward plans to address the care crisis.”

Case study

Wesley Murch’s mum Julie was diagnosed with MS in the late 1990s. She started living in a care home around six years ago, when she was in her late 50s, until she passed away last month. Julie initially went to a home 18 miles from where Wesley lived but her condition deteriorated there, so he moved her to a home close by. The only option was a home for older people.

Wesley said: “I was really reluctant for mum to go into care. She was still very young at heart – she used to go out or have friends over all the time. She was really social, so I worried about her losing interaction.

“I don’t think being with people so much older was an ideal environment for her to be in. It made me sad there was no one her own age she could mix with, especially given how much of a sociable person she was. I wanted mum to be in an environment that gave her freedom, where she had like-minded people around her. It’s important because the mental aspect of MS played a part in how her physical condition progressed. If she had more mental stimulation, maybe it would’ve slowed down her physical decline.”

References

  1. Alzheimer’s Society, Fix Dementia Care: NHS and care homes, April 2016. Available at: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/download/downloads/id/3026/fix_dementia_care_nhs_and_care_homes_report.pdf
  2. MS Society, Social care and the MS community in England, March 2017, https://www.mssociety.org.uk/ms-resources/social-care-and-ms-community