Eight in ten Welsh adults have called for reform of the social care system in Wales, a new study has found.
Public attitudes to social care in Wales following the COVID-19 pandemic, commissioned by Senedd Cymru finds thatfour in ten of those who felt that they or someone in their household/close family needed social care during the past two years did not receive or make use of it.
The main reasons people gave for not receiving/making use of social care were: a lack of availability or staff shortages; the coronavirus pandemic; ineligibility or not being offered care; not wanting to ask for help/being “too proud”; and the application or access processes being too complex.
Respondents said that reducing the costs of social care should be a priority for the UK and Welsh Governments. One third of respondents said they were very or quite dissatisfied with social care.
People reported negative associations of local authority- provided social care or of going into a care home, which they said could be improved by providing a more personal and professional service.
Respondents have called for a National Care Service and for care staff to have comparable pay (78%), working conditions (83%) and career progression opportunities (82%). Post-COVID, major challenges include infection control and backlogs due to staff shortages.
Research author Dr Simon Williams commented: “Social care policymakers and providers should seek to understand and address what people feel are the main barriers to accessing or using social care, including: increasing provision for those who need it; encouraging and enabling those who feel they need social care to apply (and working to de-stigmatise social care); consider broadening the eligibility criteria where appropriate; simplifying and providing more support for applying to/accessing social care.”