Vulnerable people are at risk because social work budgets cuts make it impossible to prepare meaningful care packages. And that is besides cuts to the government’s welfare benefits.
It’s the job of social workers to assess what support someone needs to keep them safe and able to live independently. Community Care magazine and the Care and Support Alliance, of which the MS Society is a member, surveyed social workers. The survey asked about the challenges they face trying to get people the care they need.
In response, the social workers criticised the devastating impact cuts are having on people who rely on care and support.
Almost 500 UK social workers took part in the survey. Their comments reveal the incredibly difficult position they’re often in, as they increasingly have to restrict or remove care entirely. What’s more, that is due solely to lack of resources, as local councils struggle to balance their budgets.
One social worker said: “[There is] strong pressure from my line manager and commissioners to reduce costs as a main priority.”
Meanwhile, another commented: “Colleagues constantly battle to keep packages at an adequate level to support clients.”
Social workers tell of appalling cuts in care
Their descriptions of what cuts can mean in practice to people who need care were appalling:
One wrote: “A person with hoarding issues and a tendency to eat rotten food had their shopping and housework call cut, resulting in an admission to hospital with food poisoning.”
Another response said: “The person requires support with walking to the bathroom, but due to the cost he is now required to contribute towards it. [Instead,] he has decided he would rather have the risk of falling than [pay for] an evening call.”
MS Society chief executive Michelle Mitchell, said: “This report lays bare the realities social workers face thanks to a system that hasn’t been properly funded for decades. Our own research shows that too many people with MS are bearing the brunt of cuts. One in three [are] not getting support with essential everyday tasks.
“The government has promised to improve the social care system and additional funding and reform has to come quickly. People who desperately rely on care shouldn’t be forced to keep paying the price.”