Almost one in five people do not know how social care services are funded, a YouGov survey published today reveals.
A further 16% of almost 2,000 people surveyed believed services were funded through tax and national insurance in a similar way to the NHS.
Only 46% said care provision was means tested, and just 19% supported this approach to funding, the poll commissioned by the Institute for Public Policy Research and PricewaterhouseCoopers found.
Free personal care
But more than 50% favoured free personal care based on need, although the report said some of this support “may reflect the confusion over the boundaries between health and social care”.
Less than a quarter of people were taking any specific steps to plan or prepare for their future care needs, while just over a half said they should not be forced to pay for the care of relatives.
Despite the confusion over funding, more people believed services were good than bad, although more than half were undecided.
Also, a quarter of people had some experience of care, either using services themselves or caring for someone who used them.
Almost a third of women and of people aged 55 or over were providing care, while 16% of those aged 18-24 helped or supported a relative or friend.
Publishing a report ahead of the government’s green paper on social care in England, due next month, Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) called for an independent panel to be set up to help public understanding of the issue.
IPPR co-director Carey Oppenheim said the government must urgently address the “disconnect” between public expectations and the reality of social care.
“Future policy changes relating to social care must be shaped by an informed public debate. Our research shows that there is confusion about existing provision.”
The research is the first part of a social care programme from IPPR and PWC.
Expert guide: Adult social care green paper