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Pressure on families to pay for care services intensifies

15 September 2016

NHS Digital, formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), has today published its Personal Social Services Adult Social Care Survey, England, 2015-16 [1]. The survey seeks to learn about how effectively services are helping people to live safely and independently in their own homes, and the impact that these services are having on their quality of life.

Amongst the findings from the survey is that families are buying-in more care; 10.4% of respondents said their families paid for additional care in 2015-16, a rise from 9.5% in 2014-15.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK, said:

“From our own research, we know that carers and their loved ones are increasingly being asked to pay for the basic care and support services they need [2]. Worryingly, today’s report confirms that this is a growing trend.

“The amount and type of support that someone who is disabled, older or seriously-ill needs does not change depending on the care services available to them. With families providing more care for more hours than ever before [3], and local authority leaders increasingly pessimistic about their ability to meet even statutory care and support needs, families are having little option but to step-in and provide this care or pay for additional services. This pressure is dangerous and unsustainable, pushing many families to breaking point.

“By 2017, the number of people needing care will have outstripped the number of working age family members able to provide it [4], so there has never been a more crucial time to look at what support carers and their families need now and in to the future.

“With individuals already giving so much in terms of care costs and unpaid care, it is time for a new conversation about the balance between family and state contribution and for a funding system for care which is fair and transparent.”


[1] NHS Digital, Personal Social Services Adult Social Care Survey, England, 2015-16 (based on 68,095 respondents in 2015-16)

[2] In the last year, 1 in 10 carers have been asked to pay for support services for themselves, whilst 1 in 4 carers say the person they look after has been asked to pay for support services (Carers UK, State of Caring 2016)

[3] Carers UK, Valuing Carers 2015

[4] Linda Pickard (2013) A growing care gap? The supply of unpaid care for older people by their adult children in England to 2032, published in Ageing and Society

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