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Half of British public dissatisfied with low care worker pay

Half of British public dissatisfied with low care worker pay
By Jess Hacker
27 March 2023

More than half (57%) of the British public reported being dissatisfied with social care because of inadequate pay, working conditions and training of social care workers, a survey has found.

According to the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund’s analysis of the British Social Attitudes survey, less than one-in-seven (12%) of the 3,362 people questioned said they were ‘quite’ satisfied with social care, with only 2% claiming to be ‘very’ satisfied.

By contrast, dissatisfaction rose to 57%, up from 50% the year before, marking the highest level recorded.

It comes as NHS England is set to release the £600m Adult Social Care Discharge fund to integrated care boards (ICBs) and local authorities before the end of the month.

The think tanks’ survey identified that nearly two-thirds (64%) of the British public said they felt they did not get all the social care they needed: the most common reason for feeling dissatisfied.

Nearly half (49%) cited lack of support for unpaid carers for their lack of satisfaction, while 39% flagged that social care is not affordable to those who need it.

Contact with social care also leads to higher levels of dissatisfaction, the think tanks said, with two-thirds of people who have used social care felt discontent: 20 percentage points higher than those who did not.

Sally Warren, director of policy at The King’s Fund, said: ‘The strength of dissatisfaction the British public now feel is a clear reflection of the failure of successive governments to prioritise this vital service and a stubborn unwillingness to tackle deep rooted challenges in our social care system.’

She said that the public ‘rightly recognise’ the lack of appropriate reward and support for social care staff.

Ms Warren added: ‘Against this background, it is very disappointing that the current government’s planned social care reforms have been watered down or delayed. We can expect dissatisfaction to rise further still if social care provision continues to decline, with people who draw on care and support, their carers and those working in the sector feeling the pain of this.’

The Adult Social Care Discharge fund for April 2023 to March 2024 will come as part of a £1.6 billion package to reduce delayed discharge, delivered via the planning process for the Better Care Fund (BCF) for 2023-25.

NHS England advised ICBs to begin planning for how they might apply the 50% of the £600m fund they will take responsibility for, with ICBs expected to use the funding to develop long-term social care workforce capacity plans.

ICBs and authorities will also be expected to increase social care capacity and provide more care packages to more people, and streamline discharge and placement processes to free up social workers’ time.

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