People want to be supported at home, UKHCA survey finds

Nine out of 10 people aged 65 years and over would prefer to be supported in their own home rather than in a care setting.

A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) also showed nine out of 10 MPs (87%) across all parties agreed.

The association, which represents more than 2,150 domiciliary care providers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, surveyed 2,058 adults and 100 MPs in September.

It is calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to recognise the preference and provide sufficient funding for homecare services in the government’s spending review tomorrow (Wednesday 25 November).

More than one million care and support visits to people in their own homes takes place across England each day.

Last week, research for the BBC found a quarter of homecare businesses in the UK were in danger of closing, with the sector having debts of more than £100m. In October, UKHCA’s chief executive Jane Townson told MPs concerns were growing over whether the second round of infection control funds would be enough to last throughout winter.

The association estimates the funding gap for the coming financial year to be £1.4bn. This is in addition to money for any increase to the National Minimum Wage and extra costs created by the pandemic.

Townson said: ‘All of us want to live well at home and flourish within our communities. Supporting people at home benefits individuals as well as their wider community of family, friends and neighbours and reduces cost and demand for the NHS.

‘UKHCA’s research on the way that councils and the NHS purchase homecare has exposed gross inequalities across the country. Typically, areas with the highest deprivation invest the lowest amounts in supporting people to stay well at home. If this government is serious about “levelling up”, the chancellor must invest in homecare.

‘Health and wealth are interdependent and homecare services are thus a vital part of the foundation economy, as well as providing 715,000 jobs.’