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Pay, working conditions and training for care staff fuel record public dissatisfaction with care

Public satisfaction with social care services has dropped to just 13 per cent, the lowest level ever recorded – according to a new report.

The annual British Social Attitudes survey shows that the proportion of people dissatisfied with social care remains at a historically high level.

Over half (57%) of respondents reported being either ‘quite dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with social care services.

The leading reason given for dissatisfaction was inadequate pay, working conditions and training for social care workers (57%). This was closely followed by people not getting the social care they need (56%), and there not being enough support for unpaid carers (49%). 

Dissatisfaction was markedly higher among respondents who had used or had contact with social care services (for either themselves or someone else) in the past 12 months (64%) compared to those who had not (49%.). 

Dissatisfaction with social care services varied considerably between demographic groups. Respondents aged 65 and over were more dissatisfied (63%) than respondents aged 18–64 (55%). Those in the highest income quartile were more dissatisfied (62%) than those in the lowest (51%).

There is a notable difference in party affiliation, with both Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters saying they are more dissatisfied with social care services (62%), than Conservative supporters (51%). 

The social care findings from the British Social Attitudes survey have been released ahead of the full health and care report publishing on Wednesday 27 March.

Simon Bottery, senior fellow in social care at The King’s Fund, said: “People realise that too many people fail to receive the social care support they need, putting an unfair requirement on unpaid carers, and that staff are overworked and underpaid. 

“The next government must take a strong step forward and prioritise social care.”

The most recent survey took place between 12 September – 31 October 2023 and involved over 3,000 people based in England, Scotland and Wales. Health and social care questions of the National Centre for Social Research’s (NatCen) British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey are sponsored by the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust.

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