Four out of five adults (79 per cent) believe that social care is as important as the NHS, reveals a survey out today (23 February) by the UK's leading disability charity.
The Leonard Cheshire Disability survey also reveals that nine in ten (86 per cent) adults would support more public money being used to make sure that everybody who needs social care gets it. Only 16% of people believe they would have to pay for their entire social care costs.
The charity is today launching its Social Care Matters campaign, which is calling on the government to make sure that no one is denied the support they need because they can't afford to pay for it.
At the moment many local authorities limit the social care they provide, meaning that many thousands of disabled people are not getting even the basic support that they need. Figures show that, in England in 2006-07, over a quarter of disabled people of working age who applied for social care were not offered any support.
"Social care is so much more than just personal care, it's about living. It can give disabled people much-needed freedom to live the life they want to lead - freedom that many people simply take for granted." says John Knight, Leonard Cheshire Disability's Assistant Director of Policy and Campaigns.
"Social care should be as high on the government's agenda as the NHS. The current system is failing disabled people. Tightening budgets and increasing demands mean that more and more disabled people are slipping through the net and simply not receiving the support that they need."
Social care represents services and activities generally provided by local authorities and the voluntary sector to help disabled and older people live independent and active lives. This includes a whole range of support to allow people to live the lives they choose, such as going to work, the cinema or visiting friends and family, as well as personal care like washing and cleaning.
To sign up to the campaign visit www.LCDisability.org/SocialCareMatters, email campaigning@LCDisability.org or call 020 3242 0374.
GfK NOP questioned 1,000 adults across the UK from 9-11 January 2009 and 1,001 from 16-18 January 2009. Data has been weighted to bring it in line with national profiles.
A Constitution for Social Care, a report published on February 4, by Demos, Leonard Cheshire Disability and MS Society, calls for a charter of rights for social care - like the one adopted last year by the NHS. The report claims that this NHS-style constitution would put social care on an equal footing with healthcare services. For more information go to www.demos.co.uk/publications/socialcareconstitution
Leonard Cheshire Disability supports over 21,000 disabled people in the UK and works in 52 countries. We campaign for change and provide innovative services that give disabled people the opportunity to live life their way. Visit www.LCDisability.org