The adult care system in the UK is 'visibly failing' and 'unfit for purpose' according to the findings of a recent survey by the Care and Support Alliance (CSA).

Almost 4,000 individuals that identified themselves as having experience of adult social care in England provided a picture of the experiences of the 1.2 million older and disabled people currently unable to get the care they need – a number that's almost doubled since 2010.

Among the poor care revealed by the survey, the worst examples of which amount to neglect, was that 1 in 5 said they had gone without meals.

The survey also found that due to a lack of care:

  • 1 in 5 felt unsafe moving around their own home.
  • 4 in 10 can't leave the house.
  • 1 in 4 said they've needed hospital treatment, and 1 in 8 have been delayed leaving hospital due to not being able to get the care they need.
  • More than a quarter have been unable to maintain basics like washing, dressing and visiting the toilet.
  • More than 1 in 7 (16%) have had their care packages reduced, even though their needs have increased or stayed the same.
  • More than 1 in 5 have not been able to work.

Despite more adults currently needing care, the number of those actually receiving it continues to fall, creating a funding gap that's estimated to reach £2.5 billion by 2019/20.

'It is especially worrying to have heard stories from people whose care has been cut, even though their needs have either stayed the same or got worse,' says Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK and co-Chair of the CSA. 'The reality is that care cuts aren't saving the government money, the NHS is picking up the bill as people are pushed into ill health and crisis because of a lack of basic help.'

Indeed, while a hospital bed costs £2,800 a week, personal care in a care home amounts to £600 – and care at home even less.