Health for Care: MPs warn of crisis in social care as more people suffer from cuts in care

05 June 2019

Three out of five politicians say people in their constituencies are suffering because of cuts to social care, with three quarters saying there is a crisis in care in England.

These are among the key findings from a major poll of MPs conducted by ComRes and commissioned by a coalition of national health organisations who are calling on the government to end the crisis in care.

76% of MPs say there is now a crisis in social care, including more than half (58%) of Conservative MPs.


Other key findings include:

The poll of 138 MPs was commissioned by the NHS Confederation, which leads Health for Care, a coalition of 15 organisations including NHS Providers, that represent the breadth of the NHS. The organisations have joined forces to make the case for a sustainable social care system to be delivered on the back of a new long-term funding settlement.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said: “The scandal of social care in this country is leaving record numbers of vulnerable people to struggle every day without the basic care and support they need. And millions of family carers are exhausted and at the end of their tether.

“The most striking findings from this research is the sheer number of MPs who agree that there is a crisis in social care, alongside the vast numbers who have noticed a significant increase in care problems and cases raised by their constituents.

Now is the time for MPs of all parties to work together to agree a solution that ends the unfairness faced by thousands of people every day.”

Niall Dickson    

“However, there is a marked lack of political consensus on how to solve the problem. This simply isn’t good enough considering this is the greatest social challenge of our time. The Prime Minister came to power promising to fix the crisis in care but failed – her successor cannot afford to do the same. The social care system needs urgent funding and support in the short term and a long-term solution delivered as part of the next Spending Review. Now is the time for MPs of all parties to work together to agree a solution that ends the unfairness faced by thousands of people every day.”

While there is consensus among MPs about there being a crisis in care, politicians are evenly split in their support across four potential solutions, with each attracting about a fifth of MPs’ support: introducing free personal care (21%); an auto-enrolment insurance system (20%); a cap on costs and a revised ‘floor’ to the means test – a variant of the Dilnot proposal (19%); and improving the current system (18%). 

Broken down by the two main political parties, Conservative MPs are most likely to support the option of an auto-enrolment insurance system (30%) and Labour MPs are most likely to support the introduction of free personal care (40%).

The director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin said:

“This research shows the impact that the lack of action to address the social care crisis is having.

“Many vulnerable people and their families do not know where to turn or when they will receive the support and care that they need – as we can see here more are turning to their elected representatives for help.

“We need a political solution. There is broad agreement among these MPs that there is now a social care crisis, but we need to see more decisive cross-party action to find solutions. We can’t afford further delay. We must work towards a sustainable funding model and address severe staff shortages in the sector, or we risk leaving even more people without the care they need.”



Between 27 March and 10 May 2019, ComRes surveyed 138 MPs through a combination of online and self-completion paper surveys. The responses included 51 Conservative MPs, 66 Labour MPs, 12 SNP and nine MPs from other parties. Data has been weighted by party and region to be representative of the House of Commons.

Read more about the Health for Care coalition, its members and the principles for a future social care system. 

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