accessibility & help

Health and social care

Everyone should get the support they need to live independently at home.

What's wrong with health and social care in the UK?

The UK's sick, elderly and disabled are not being looked after properly. Too many people have to reach a health and social care crisis before they receive help.

One million older people have unmet needs for care and support. At least half a million fewer people are receiving care than ten years ago. And there have been cuts to funding over the last five years totalling £4.6 billion.

It is widely acknowledged that 'prevention is better than cure'. But there is a lack of accessible early interventions.

Low-level practical and emotional support early on can help vulnerable people maintain and regain the confidence to live independently in their own homes.

It can also reduce costs for both individuals and the public purse.

This is a humanitarian crisis and without funding it will not only persist, but get worse.

What are we calling for to improve health and social care?

  • We want to see a long-term, person-centred plan for health and social care in England. This should be developed in partnership with patients, professionals and the wider sector.
    The plan should prioritise ensuring people get the support they need to live independently at home.
  • We want social care to be given the priority it deserves.
    An independent analysis of current and predicted levels of unmet need in the short, medium and long term, including costings, should be carried out as a priority by the new government.
  • We want to see more people able to access preventative services, and fewer people reaching the point of health and social care crisis.
    The Care Act’s prevention duty and responsibilities should be met with new additional resources.
    All health and social care planning documents, national and local, should fully incorporate and prioritise prevention.
    The importance of non-clinical interventions need to be recognised. Examples include the provision of short-term wheelchairs, support at home and services that help reduce loneliness and social isolation,  

Staying independent

Many of us see losing our independence as the biggest crisis we will face in our personal lives. Research shows it’s a concern that cuts across ages. 

Since April 2015, the Care Act has placed a duty on English councils to make sure preventative services are available locally. 

However, our research suggests that the Care Act’s vision for prevention is not being fully realised.

Local authorities in England must do more to provide services which prevent, reduce or delay the need for care and support.

The government must also look again at what resources are required to enable local authorities to implement these new duties in a meaningful way.

Snakebite victim Laura Brasher and a Red Cross volunteer

Short-term wheelchair loans

We believe everyone who needs a wheelchair should quickly and easily get one, for as long as they need it.

Sally Driver meets support at home worker Chris at her front door, holding on to a grab rail.

Prevention in action: resources for local decision makers

Too many people have to reach crisis point before they receive the health and social care support they need.

A Red Cross volunteer looks at a photo with a service user

Prevention in action: is it being prioritised?

Local authorities in England must do more in their local areas to provide services which prevent, reduce or delay the need for care and support.

Hands holding

The case for more health and social care funding

The UK’s sick, elderly and disabled are not being looked after properly. This is a humanitarian crisis and without funding it will not only persist, but get worse.