More than half of social care users do not feel supported, says charity

Social care services are crumbling under the pressure of cuts


Disability charity Scope has today submitted its report on social care to the Treasury, ahead of the government’s Spending Review on 25 November.

Scope is calling on the government to use the opportunity to invest in social services, based on their finding that 55 per cent of social care users say social care never supports their independence.

The report, entitled ‘Disabled people’s experiences of social care’, surveyed 515 disabled people in England about their experiences of social care before and after 2010.

 In the 2010 Spending Review the coalition made the decision to protect NHS spending from real terms cuts, but to leave social care exposed to the impact of a 40 per cent real-terms fall in financial support to local government. 

Since 2009/10, local authority spending on adult social care has fallen in real terms by about 17 per cent.

Scope’s report highlights the impact that spending cuts have had already. Among the key findings are that:

  • Just 18 per cent of social care users say services consistently support them to live as independently as possible. 55 per cent say social care never supports their independence.
  • 27 per cent feel services consistently support their day to day living needs, with 38 per cent saying this never happens.
  • More than half of social care users under 35 want help with working or jobseeking, but only 15 per cent are currently getting support with working and only
    13 per cent are getting support with jobseeking.

Changes since 2010:

  • 36 per cent of disabled social care users say support has become worse since 2010. 19 per cent say support has improved
  • 29 per cent of social care users say their hours of support have been cut, while 24 per cent say their hours have been increased.
  • 83 per cent of those whose hours of support have been cut say they now do not get enough support through their care package

The people surveyed meant a variety of different things when they talked about lack of support. Many described the disparity between what was included in their care plans and what they actually experienced, like Frank who said:

“Sessions in the care plan are 30 minutes, but actual visits got shorter after the first few weeks, sometimes less than 15 minutes (for a bath!). When the first girl was introduced, she listened to some pointers and issues, but sometimes people turn up I’ve never met before who don’t seem to have any idea what it says in the plan.”

Many respondents were dissatisfied with the level of training and knowledge of the carers allocated to them, like Omar who said:

 “I have been given reduced access to sign language professionals. There is a clear lack of understanding of my deafness.”

Others were concerned that their care plans were not being updated according to their needs, like Laura who said:

“My support hours have been cut by 25 per cent, even though my needs have increased.”

Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope, said:

“Our findings show the horrific consequences that disabled people face as a result of our collapsing social care system.

“Disabled people have told us they are waiting fourteen hours to go to the toilet, sleeping in their clothes, unable to eat or wash and left socially isolated.”

In June council care bosses warned of £1bn worth of further cuts to social care services for older and disabled people. Atkinson warned that the social care gap is growing by ‘at least £700m a year because of increasing demand, higher care costs, the new living wage and a reduction in grants from central government to councils.’

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward

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