‘Ticking timebomb’ warning over state of social care
New research has warned of a ‘ticking timebomb’ in relation to the current state of social care, with many families currently reluctant to look after their elderly relatives.
The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) published today claims to expose a lack of awareness of social care, confusion over funding and a widespread lack preparation.
Some of main points raised by the study, released a month ahead of the government’s green paper on social care, include a general reluctance towards greater family responsibility for funding and providing care.
The report states: “There does not seem to be widespread support for the role of families in care to become more extensive or compulsory”, adding that 52 per cent of families feel they should not be compelled to pay for relatives’ care.
There are also problems with people being reluctant to rely on their family for care, with nearly half claiming they would prefer professional care.
The study also discovered a lack of preparation and planning for social care needs, with only 22 per cent of people taking any specific steps to provide or fund any future care they may need.
The means testing approach to funding care was also shown not to be a popular choice, with free services based on needs the preferred method. Significant numbers of people also feel there should be individual contributions alongside state funding.
Finally, 69 per cent of respondents claimed there was not enough information available about the services and their financial implications.
The report instead calls for an independent panel to be set up by the government to help inform and generate public debate about social care.
Commenting, Carey Oppenheim, co-director of ippr, said: “Future policy changes relating to social care must be shaped by an informed public debate. Our research shows that there is confusion about existing provision and a substantial gap between public expectations and social care realities.
“The government urgently needs to address this disconnect before it brings forward policy proposals that seek to fundamentally reform the social contract between the state and its citizens.”
Amanda Kelly, lead partner for social care at PwC, added: “In our experience social care is one of society’s biggest challenges. The public need and want more information about social care provision and prospects for the future.
“We support proposals for government to address this gap before it asks people to respond to proposals for policy change.”