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BASW England response to the Mencap survey highlighting the impact on Carers of lockdown

BASW England welcomes the survey carried out by Mencap who surveyed 1,069 family carers of people with a learning disability to find out how they have been affected during the coronavirus lockdown by cuts to social care

We are deeply concerned about the risks to people with learning disabilities and carers providing care and support to people in their own homes during the pandemic.

Survey responses reported in the Guardian and Community Care highlight that two-thirds of respondents (65.3%) said the amount of social care support their loved-one received from their local authority had at least halved, in terms of hours, during the lockdown. The impact of this has been reduced independence, poorer health and increased  pressures on carers. All of this is in addition to the reductions in funding already experienced by people who receive social care over the last decade, the impact of which have been well-documented.

In our overarching statement on Human Rights BASW identifies the pressures arising from the pandemic and the difficulties in responding to these which run the risk of undermining entitlements, reducing human rights and removing safeguards

The responses to the Mencap survey are significant. COVID-19 has revealed many underlying health and social inequalities - including the tragic excess deaths of people with learning disabilities.

Social workers have a pivotal and key role to play in assessing need, making recommendations and decisions about how people access and receive social care. As we move through the different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic we need a greater focus on supporting adults with learning disability and carers in order to prevent further excessive risks.

BASW England are campaigning for social care reform having recently responded to the Parliamentary Health & Social Care Committee Social care: funding and workforce Inquiry. BASW England believes that quality social care should be available to all regardless of socio-economic status and the same high standard of care should be provided to individuals whether or not they are eligible for public funding.

We think that the reform process should include a review of the scope of social care. People with a learning disability are being left behind because they cannot access social care and this cannot be allowed to continue. The response to the Mencap survey reinforces the urgent need for reform.

BASW are in full support of the campaign by Mencap who are calling on the government to increase funding for social care.

Show your support by signing the petition.

Show your support on social media and tweet using the following hashtag #social care crisis

Easy read version of the survey report

BASW England will be consulting further with members to identify any concerns relating to care being cancelled or suspended during the pandemic. We will be exploring  what is happening with  reviews for people with learning disabilities and/or autism, families and carers.

To support this social workers are encouraged to complete the BASW survey which contains a specific question about the use of the Care Act during covid-19.