New reports reveal the human cost of a social care system struggling to cope.

The Richmond Group of Charities has today (Thursday 15 September) released Real Lives, which describes real life experiences of seven individuals and families who are using social care services today.

Real Lives is launched alongside a major report, Social Care for Older People: Home Truths, from the King's Fund and the Nuffield Trust.

Social Care for Older People: Home Truths revealed:

  • Bleak funding outlook for the next five years, with public spending on adult social care set to fall to less than 1 percent of GDP and councils unable to meet minimum statutory duties. 
  • Knock-on effect to the NHS, most visibly resulting in an increase in delayed discharges from hospital.
  • Access to care depending heavily on what people can afford and where they live.

Real Lives sets out the challenges and barriers people face when accessing social care, these include:

  • Councils reducing access to care and support services by raising eligibility criteria and increasing fees and charges.
  • A lack of support for families and carers, who are not always receiving what they need or are entitled to under the Care Act (2014).
  • Serious doubt over the sustainability of the social care provider market, which sees people receiving minimal care from multiple carers.

Responding to this, Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Society, said:

'As social care budgets are slashed it’s those who are most vulnerable who must suffer the consequences. Time and again, we hear of how people with dementia are forced to choose between which basic level of care they must forgo. In some cases, homecare visits are so short they have to decide between a cup of tea or a wash.

'Theresa May cannot neglect this issue in the post-Brexit turmoil. While the full implications of Brexit remain cloudy, the implications of an underfunded social care system are staring us in the face - social care urgently needs a solid financial grounding before this house of cards falls.'