UK charity Leonard Cheshire Disability has found that 40% of disabled adults in Britain who report not receiving enough social care have experienced a negative impact on their physical health, and the same proportion (40%) say it has had a negative impact on their mental health.
One in 11 (9%) people said they have spent more time in hospital due to ill health as a result of a lack of social care.
This comes at a time when the number of people being delayed from leaving hospital because of a lack of social care in the community has jumped 38% so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, NHS England data shows.
A total of 18,159 patients experienced a delayed transfer of care related to social care between January and September 2016. This compares to 13,169 people in the same period a year before — a jump of 38%. Almost a third of all delayed transfers of care in the last year can be attributed to social care.
In its 2016 report The state of social care in Great Britain, Leonard Cheshire Disability says a lack of social care is having a devastating impact on the lives of disabled people, and putting an unbearable strain on our health service.
Leonard Cheshire Disability’s chief executive Neil Heslop said:
‘Social care in our country is completely overwhelmed with rising demand and dwindling resources.
‘Our research shows hundreds of thousands of disabled people are going without vital support to live dignified lives, including those without help to get out of bed, to wash and eat properly. As a measure of our society, this is damning.
‘We’re seeing a significant health cost, both physical and mental, from the lack of social care available — adding considerable pressure to a health service already under strain. Without care in the community to help people live more independently, an increasing number of people are stuck in hospital without the option to leave.’
The evidence is mounting for urgent action. In England, at least 400,000 fewer people are now receiving social care compared to 2009. This is against a backdrop of 1.4 million more working age adults living with a disability compared to 2010.
Public opinion polling by Leonard Cheshire Disability shows social care is important to the British public:
- 78% of people believe so;
- over half (53%) think social care is not working well for disabled and older people; and
- two thirds (66%) think the government do not spend enough money on social care for disabled and older people
In response, the charity is urging the government to rapidly restore the social care safety net which allows millions of disabled people to live and work with independence and dignity by calling for:
- a national commission to plan how we will meet the growing demand for dignified, person-centered social care, and how this will be funded
- funding earmarked for social care under the Better Care Fund in 2019/20 brought urgently forward to alleviate the huge pressure facing the social care system now