Chronic under-funding of the UK’s social care system, revealed by a new report from by The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust, has prompted the Multiple Sclerosis Society to call on the government to take action.
On its website, under the heading ‘New report shows human cost of a social care system struggling to cope’, the society says:
The care and support people receive depends on where they live and how much money they have rather than their needs, according to the report ‘Social care for older people: Home truths’.
The report looks at the impact of funding cuts to local authorities’ budgets for social care services. It finds the social care system is unable to meet the needs of people who depend on it, and that cuts are placing an unacceptable burden on unpaid carers.
Key findings of the report:
- Six consecutive years of cuts to local authority budgets have seen 26% fewer people get help.
- More and more people are having to pay for their own care. Those who can’t afford to pay are relying on an increasingly threadbare local authority safety net.
- The situation for people needing care has been made worse by pressures elsewhere in the NHS.
- The funding outlook for the next five years is bleak – the growing gap between needs and resources will reach at least £2.8 billion by 2019.
The Richmond Group of Charities, of which we are a member, has published a complementary report, ‘Real Lives’, which gives voice to the experiences of people using social care.
It features the story of Alison, a woman in her seventies who lives with MS and has received a social care package from her local authority for the past 12 years. Her story highlights the difference it makes to have meaningful choice and control over her care.
Our chief executive, Michelle Mitchell (pictured, right), said: “The evidence and experiences in this report echo many of the stories we hear from people with MS and their families and carers – that social care is chronically underfunded and not working for the people who rely on it.
“MS affects nearly 90,000 people in England and more than a third of them could need social care support. Shrinking social care budgets are leaving too many people without the help they need to live independent lives. It’s also increasing pressure on families and carers who play an invaluable role in supporting people with MS.
“The Government must urgently address the shortages in the social care system so that people with MS aren’t denied the vital support they need and unnecessary pressures aren’t put on the NHS.”