Only 1 in 10 MPs in England believe that the current social care system is suitable for the UK’s ageing population. And 86% of MPs in England believe a cross-party consensus is needed for a lasting settlement on health and social care.
That’s according to a new poll of 101 MPs of all parties commissioned by Independent Age, the older people’s charity.
The ComRes poll finds there are strong majorities across both major parties who believe funding for social care is inadequate, with only one in five Conservative MPs in England agreeing there is sufficient funding for social care services in either their constituency or in the UK. Fewer than one in ten Labour MPs in England say they agree that there is sufficient funding for social care services.
Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, said: “Confidence that the social care system can deal with the UK’s ageing population has virtually evaporated among Parliamentarians. The crisis in social care was front and centre in the election earlier this year, and it is clear from this poll that there is an overwhelming desire from politicians on all sides for the government to work towards a cross-party consensus on a solution.
“The problems in social care are about more than simply finding new bits of money to pump into a system that isn’t fit for purpose. To meet current and future demand, we need to take a radically different approach, recognising the status quo has failed.
“The government has promised a consultation on social care, but to work this must set out a long-term vision for health and care that has support from across the political divide. It must also lead to a lasting settlement that better integrates health and social care services and is sustainable over the years to come.”
The survey also highlighted overwhelming support for a cross-party solution on health and social care. Conservative (84%) and Labour (88%) MPs almost equally agree that a cross-party consensus is required.
Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health and former care minister said: “The health and care system in England is creaking at the seams. An unprecedented number of older people need support in later life but are finding high-quality care is hard to come by. Patients are suffering from longer waiting times in the NHS, while there is evidence that the rationing of treatment is becoming more commonplace.
“The government simply cannot afford to put off finding solutions to these problems. Without lasting reform, the most vulnerable frail and elderly people are at real risk of falling through the gaps and not getting the support they expect and deserve. While ministers have promised a green paper on the future of social care, this falls short of the fundamental review of the entire health and care system that we desperately need.
“That’s why I have been working with Independent Age and a coalition of healthcare organisations to urge the Government to work with MPs from all parties, experts from across the sector, and with older people and their families to help build a sustainable health and social care system that ensures everybody can get the treatment and support that they need.”
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “It is encouraging to see so many MPs across all political parties recognising the need for action to find a sustainable solution to the adult social care funding crisis.
“The extra £2 billion for social care over the next few years is a step in the right direction, but it is only one-off funding which reduces each year. Vital services caring for elderly and disabled people still face an annual £2.3 billion funding gap by 2020,
“It is absolutely critical that the government brings forward its Green Paper on the future of social care and works with local government leaders to address the issue of long-term funding and also create the conditions necessary to ensure the development of the right kind of care and support services.
“We strongly support a cross-party consensus on adult social care and councils are firmly committed to making this happen.”