Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Public dissatisfaction with social care hits record high

Just 13% of the general public are satisfied with social care services in the UK, according to the British Social Attitudes survey.

Furthermore, nearly six in 10 (57%) Brits are either ‘quite dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with social care services – a historic high for the sector.

The British Social Attitudes survey, conducted by National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and published by the Nuffield Trust and the King’s Fund, is considered the gold standard measure of public attitudes.

Dissatisfaction with social care has nearly doubled over past decade

A nationally representative sample of more than 3,300 people were asked for their views on the NHS and social care services between September and October 2023.

Dissatisfaction with social care services varied considerably between demographic groups. Those who were more dissatisfied included respondents who have used or had contact with social services, people in the highest income quartile, people aged 65 and over, and Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters.

The leading reasons given for dissatisfaction were:

  • Inadequate pay, working conditions and training for social care workers (57%)
  • People not getting the social care they need (56%)
  • Not enough support for unpaid carers (49%).

There has been a significant rise in dissatisfaction with social care over the last decade, with just 29% of respondents saying they were ‘very’ or ‘quite dissatisfied’ in 2013 compared to 57% in 2023.

Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow in social care at The King’s Fund, said this can be attributed to inaction and a lack of funding from previous governments.

Government must take ‘immediate action’

Mr Bottery said: “These are awful results, but they are sadly unsurprising. For many years governments have taken too little action on social care and this is now seriously affecting those who draw on services, the families who support them and the staff who work in the sector.

“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 results demonstrate the need for immediate action to stabilise the social care system, backed by long-term reform and investment. The next government must take a strong step forward and prioritise social care.”

The full results of the survey, as well as the full health and care report, will be published on Wednesday (27 March).

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More