Most MPs agree crisis in social care is making people suffer


Most MPs agree that there is a crisis in care in England, with three out of five believing people in their constituencies are suffering because of social care cuts.

The findings come from a poll of 138 MPs commissioned by the NHS Confederation.

It showed that three quarters of the MPs, including most Conservatives (58%), believe that there is a crisis in care in England.

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Two thirds (65%) of politicians admitted that 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.

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.

Worryingly, there is little faith among MPs that the delayed Social Care Green Paper will improve standards of social care – only half (49%) agree it will.

The study was commissioned by NHS Confederation, which leads Health for Care, a coalition of 15 organisations that have come together to make a case for a sustainable funding settlement for social care.

Niall Dickson (pictured), chief executive of the NHS Confederation, warned that despite these “striking” statistics, there is still a “marked lack of political consensus” on how to solve the crisis.

“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.”

While there is consensus among MPs about there being a crisis in care, politicians are evenly split in their support across four potential solutions, the poll found.

Some 21% of MPs want to introduce free personal care, 20% want an auto-enrolment insurance system, 19% want a cap on costs and a revised ‘floor’ to the means test, 18% want to improve the current system.

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%).

Sally Copley, director of Policy and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society, a member of the coalition, said: “It is a real cause for concern that half of MPs don’t think the long-awaited Green Paper will improve the standard of social care provision in this country. Successive governments have failed to tackle this issue and, all the while, more people are being diagnosed with dementia and demand for care is ever increasing. The human cost of this inaction is staggering, with many families at breaking point.

“The new Prime Minister must say how they will introduce a long-term funding solution for care, without which the NHS Long Term Plan will fail. In the meantime, we’re calling for urgent investment in quality, specialist dementia support through a dedicated Dementia Fund. The Fund will provide a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia who have already waited too long for decisive, political leadership on social care.”

Tags : Crisis in Carenhs confederationSocial Care Green Paper
Sarah Clarke

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