“Social care as important as the NHS” – public demands drastic change as sector calls for innovation
To mark three months since the UK lockdown began new research from Anchor Hanover reveals a profound shift in the nation’s attitudes towards social care since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In response, we are urging this positive public sentiment to be matched by tangible social care reform.
The crisis has opened the nation’s eyes to the value of social care workers, who provide vital care for some of the most vulnerable people in society.
The research revealed that as a result of the sector’s unwavering efforts during the pandemic, 62% of the public now have a higher opinion of the social care sector.
Determined to see this recognised, an overwhelming 84% of the public are demanding parity of esteem with the NHS, arguing that social care and the NHS are equally important.
Looking specifically at older people who have been classed as high-risk during the pandemic, over half (54%) think government should prioritise social care reform. There is however limited hope among the UK’s older people that meaningful steps will be taken, with only 22% of older people thinking any significant reform will actually come about.
Innovation in the sector needed more than ever
The research comes at a time when the country continues to face unprecedented turbulence as a result of the pandemic and coincides with calls from the wider industry for government to support innovative ways to address the social care crisis.
We are backing trade association Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO)’s call for a systemic change in the social care sector including more support for the Housing with Care model, which can alleviate pressures on hospitals and residential care.
Recent Anchor Hanover research found that living in retirement housing has an enormous benefit to tenants’ wellbeing and can provide considerable savings for the state (£6,200 per year, per tenancy in social value).
With public sentiment towards social care significantly increased, our research highlights the need to develop innovative solutions to address the social care crisis and the needs of our ageing population.
Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor Hanover, says:
The government has an opportunity and an obligation to demonstrate its commitment to our ageing population.
Anchor Hanover’s research shows that 62% of the public now have a higher opinion of the social care sector than before the pandemic. Government must match public sentiment by delivering on its promises for tangible, sustainable social care reform. With pressure on social care continuing to deepen and with an ageing population, the need for innovative solutions is profound.
“Demand for high quality specialist housing and care is extremely strong. Government backing for Housing with Care could benefit older people with care and support needs, as well as everyone wanting to get a foothold on the property ladder and boost the economic health of the UK.
“The measures being called for by ARCO do not require vast sums of money, simply political will. We have waited too long and simply ‘going back to normal’ is not an option.