A coalition of more than 75 of the country’s leading charities, including Mencap, is warning that the Government’s flagship changes to the social care system, which are introduced today are “built on sand” without adequate funding for disabled and older people and their carers.

The Care and Support Alliance said the Care Act was a bold attempt to reform the system but without more funding, thousands of disabled and older people will continue to be cut out of the care system and denied access to things as basic as getting up, getting dressed and getting out of the house.

The CSA argues that the care system is on its knees, with demand going up at the same time as underfunding has seen fewer and fewer people getting support.

LSE research revealed that around 500,000 older and disabled people who would have got care in 2009 are no longer entitled to it, while the LGA and ADASS estimate a £4.3bn black hole in social care services by the end of the decade

Changes welcomed under the Act include national eligibility criteria for social care and the promotion of wellbeing and integration.

Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, Richard Hawkes, said:

"The Care Act is a bold and ambitious piece of legislation. 

"The Government deserves credit for capping care costs, ending the postcode lottery, giving older and disabled people greater control over their lives, new advocacy rights and new rights for carers. 

"But it will only live up to its promise of a genuinely preventative system that promotes wellbeing if it is properly funded. 

"Chronic underfunding of social care has seen dramatic year-on-year rationing of support for older and disabled people and their carers, excluding hundreds of thousands of people from the support they desperately need.

"Equally, while we welcome a national threshold for eligibility, by setting the bar at such a high level, the Government has ensured that the year-on-year rationing that has seen people squeezed out of the system, will continue.

"Ultimately, social care is an election issue and whoever forms the next Government needs to urgently address the crisis in care funding, as well as in the health system. Anything else is simply a false economy and the reforms being implemented from today are built on sand and unable to live up to their promises."

Recent polling commissioned by the CSA revealed that almost 90 percent of GPs feared that social care services were not providing a sufficient level of care for patients, with nearly three quarters (71 percent) believing care services will worsen over the next two to three years.

-ENDS-

For more information please contact either

James Gosling - Sense

Warren Kirwan – Scope

The Care and Support Alliance

Set up in July 2009, the C&SA is a consortium of more than 75 organisations that represent and support older and disabled people, including disabled children, those with long-term conditions and their families, and campaigns to keep adult care funding and reform on the political agenda. http://careandsupportalliance.com/

Social care

This is taken from the NHS explanation of social care:

“Some people need practical or emotional care or support to lead an active life and do the everyday things that most of us take for granted. The social care system provides this support for those who need it to help them keep their independence and dignity...

“…The adult social care department, part of your local authority’s social services, is responsible for assessing people’s need for ‘community care’ or ‘social care’ services. It arranges or provides these services, and might give financial support to meet certain needs.

“…Services provided can include: help in your home with things like cleaning and shopping; disability equipment and adaptations to your home; day centres to give you or the person who cares for you a break; day care for your child if either you or they are disabled; care homes; support for carers; financial support.”

Here’s the Government’s info on social care.