According to figures from the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey 2017, only 23% of the public said they are satisfied with social care and dissatisfaction was a whopping 41%!
Now it is important to note that these figures are not just from patients of services. I know many care providers who can boast 90+ percent approval ratings. These figures are from members of the public, many of whom will not have used services themselves but are asked to draw on ‘their own experiences, as well as experiences of their friends and family and to include opinions they have drawn from other sources such as the media.’
According to the report from the BSA, there was not a statistically significant difference to figures from 2017 to those of 2016. However, figures have been steadily declining since 2007.
It is important that all care providers acknowledge this public view of social care because we are all guilty of not sharing the great care we deliver every day within the community.
We also need to work together to identify what support we need to provide better services. Health and Social Care has been one of the worst hit sectors in the period of austerity and the governments decisions to continually cut into services was always going to impact front line services and ultimately reduced the standard of care to the end user.
The report did not give reasons for satisfaction and dissatisfaction in Social Care but did for the NHS and I think many those would be the same or similar in Social Care.
Here are the top three positives and negatives of the NHS in the view of the public, in 2017;
I am very confident it would be echoed that the quality of care and the attitudes of staff would be the highest scorers in public satisfaction when it comes to Social Care. I am also confident that lack of government funding and under staffing would score very highly in public dissatisfaction.
For me the best thing about Social Care are the care staff and allowing people to stay at home with loved ones despite their care needs and the worst thing is that funding at its current level means people receive 30 minutes of care and care workers are paid minimum wage for a role that most people could not do.
Trying to provide care to someone in 30 minutes, from getting out of bed to washing and dressing, having breakfast and medication is challenging for the care worker but most of all for the person receiving care having the start their day like that everyday.
The Care Quality Commission has 5 key lines of inquiry when inspecting services;
- Is the service Safe?
- Is the service Effective?
- Is the service Caring?
- Is the service Responsive?
- Is the service Well-led?
I wonder what the verdict would be if we took these five questions and applied them to decisions made to Social Care funding cuts by successive governments.
How are we going to change public perception of care providers?
Despite all of the financial challenges within Social Care, great care is delivered to hundreds of thousands of people every day.
Although media coverage as a general rule is negative when speaking about the care industry, we as providers, care workers and users of care services have opportunities everyday to put positive energy about your own experiences.
Whilst negative news stories sells more papers and gets more traffic to news websites, we are now in an age of social media and services need to take responsibility for how the public see us and the work we do.
So what can we do to make people aware?
Share, Share and Share!!
99.9% of care services in the UK are providing a service to better the lives of people in their care. Whilst doing this there will be positive stories of people going above and beyond the call of duty and these need to be shared on social media. But also share what we do on a day to day basis. Those people outside of the care industry do not have your knowledge or experience. I think care workers, nurses and management of services are all guilty of undervaluing the work they themselves do.
You have a positive impact on the people you care for everyday, when you support them to do something they now can not do alone, when you help them do something they thought they would never do again or even just listening to someone tell a story of their life and making other people feel valued and have purpose.
We as an industry need to work to change this view on Social Care. It is important for everyone in the care industry to feel they are valued and that the work they do is appreciated. When figures like this come out, it will almost certainly motivate people to leave the industry and will make staff attraction harder for everyone. Again this will have a terrible impact on the future of the social care in the years to come.
So please, whether you are care for people in their own homes, are working in the hospital or working in a care home, share your great care stories. Tell people what you do and share your day.
You work in one of the few industries that actually means something to people and has genuine positive effects on people everyday. Be proud of that and start valuing the work you do. Only then can we make a genuine case for fundamental change to how the government funds our care and values our front line care staff.