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A third of people less likely to seek residential social care due to COVID-19, poll finds

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A third of people are less likely to seek residential social care for their relatives as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, a poll has found.

The Policy Exchange and Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) survey revealed a growing crisis of trust in the social care system as a result of COVID-19.

Some 31% of those polled said they were less likely to seek residential care for their elderly relatives than before the crisis with 40% of over 65s less likely to consider it for themselves.

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The survey of a representative sample of more than 2,400 people across the UK was conducted during May 15-18 and was supported by older people’s charity, Independent Age.

The polling also found strong support amongst the general public for a new social care funding solution.

The most popular options to fund social care were general taxation, in the way the NHS is funded and a new social care tax – combined, these two proposals received over 60% of both Conservative and Labour voter support.

Meanwhile, at least four-fifths of Conservative (80%) and Labour (85%) voters agree that ensuring care workers are properly paid, more than the minimum wage, should be a priority with any new funding.

Harry Quilter-Pinner, IPPR Senior Research Fellow, said: “COVID-19 has been devastating for the social care sector and for many who rely on it. This polling demonstrates that without significant government intervention we risk losing trust in what is a vital public service.

“But the social care crisis pre-dates the pandemic. Governments have consistently promised to find a long-term funding solution for social care but failed to deliver.

“COVID-19 has demonstrated that they can no-longer ‘kick the can down the road’. Fortunately, our polling shows that there is a growing cross-party consensus in favour of social care free at the point of need, funded out of general taxation.”

Kathryn Smith, chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, told CHP the poll’s findings were a “sorry indictment of what’s happened to social care in just two months or so”.

“This important survey reveals that there’s a crisis of trust in care homes in particular,” Kathryn added.

“We know that this has come about through inappropriate hospital discharges, lack of protective equipment and a lack of consistent testing.”

Kathryn said a cross-party agreement for long-term social care funding was vital, adding: “This must be an opportunity for us to consider the future of residential care so that we take on board what people are telling us they want in the future, and then we can start to rebuild the trust that’s been lost.”

 

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The author Lee Peart

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