Over one million disabled adults without support is ‘national scandal’ in social care

  •  48% of disabled adults who say they need social care do not receive any support at all
  • Thousands are trapped at home, isolated and unemployed
  • Leonard Cheshire Disability is calling for a national commission on the future of health and social care

Leading UK charity Leonard Cheshire Disability has found that 48 per cent of disabled adults in Great Britain who say they need social care are not currently receiving any support, leaving thousands of people without vital help to get around their homes and out into their communities.

The charity says this is a ‘national scandal’ and that a lack of social care is having a devastating impact on disabled people. In its new report ‘The state of social care in Great Britain in 2016’, Leonard Cheshire Disability found:

  • half (50 per cent) of disabled adults who say they do not receive enough social care report being unable to work;
  • two in five (40 per cent) feel isolated or lonely;
  • over half (56%) of those who do not receive enough support maintaining social and community links are unable to leave home when they would like at least once a week; and
  • 1 in 11 (9 per cent) say they have spent more time in hospital due to ill health as a result of a lack of social care.

The charity estimates that as many as 2.7 million working age disabled adults in Great Britain could need social care to live independently, and that well over one million may not currently be getting enough support to do this.

Lynne_p leonard cheshire

Lynne Noble

Human cost

Since November 2015 Lynne Noble, 63, from West Yorkshire has been waiting to be given the right care from her local council so she can remain independent. Lynne has cerebral palsy and was diagnosed with MS in 1994.

She said: “It had gotten to the point where my husband was caring for me nearly 24/7 and I realised that it would be selfish not to ask for help. I have spent a great deal of time and money trying to sort out my social care package, which would have been better spent helping to improve my quality of life.”

Council funding cuts mean that 30 year-old Julie Sharp and her husband Sam, from West Yorkshire, have no emergency care provision and can be left for days without support if their carers don’t show up.

Julie said: “Many times we have both gone to medical appointments in our night clothes because, although patient transport has turned up, we have had a break down in our personal care, and our local council no longer provides emergency care.”

“We no longer seem to matter to adult social care and it does not matter to them if we go without medication, food, drinks, a change of clothes or showers, all because we chose the direct payments option.”

The case for action is clear

The evidence is mounting for urgent action. In England, over 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 suggests social care is important to the British public:

  • 78 per cent of people believe so;
  • over half (53 per cent) think social care is not working well for disabled and older people; and
  • two thirds (66 per cent) 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 forward in the upcoming Autumn Statement to alleviate the huge pressure facing the social care system now.

Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Chief Executive Neil Heslop said: “It is a national scandal that thousands of disabled and older people do not have the support to do everyday tasks such as washing and dressing, and even more shockingly, no support to eat. A lack of social care creates a perfect storm of problems that significantly reduces the life chances of disabled people.

“The right social care allows people to stay well, be independent, get jobs, volunteer, have relationships and contribute fully to society. But as our research shows, dignified everyday care is simply not available to many people, and that is unacceptable.”

About Leonard Cheshire Disability

Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of services for disabled people. Our services include high-quality care and community support together with innovative projects supporting disabled people into education, employment and entrepreneurship. Worldwide, our global alliance of Cheshire partners supports disabled people into education and employment, and works in more than 50 countries. With over 7,500 staff, the charity supports over 7,000 disabled people in the UK. Visit: www.leonardcheshire.org

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