A sustainable social care system Our research and analysis of social care aims to inform policymaking and ensure the debate is evidence-based and focused on the future.


Social care is the provision of personal care or support to children or adults in need or at risk. This care or support can be both practical and emotional – and the individual’s needs might stem from illness, disability, old age or poverty. Within the UK social care policy is devolved across the four nations.

Whereas the health care system is free at the point of use, in England social care is means-tested, which remains a source of inequity and unfairness. Particularly at a time where social care funding is falling per capita in real terms, reducing the amount and quality of social care that is publicly provided.

An ageing population and increase in the number of younger adults living with disabilities are pushing up the cost of caring for older and disabled people, placing the social care system under huge strain. While all four nations are facing the same demand pressures, the social care system in England needs adequate funding to return to previous levels of access and quality, in addition to the rising demand and costs.

Our research and analysis of social care aims to inform policymaking and ensure the debate is evidence-based and focused on the future.

Long read

What should be done to fix the crisis in social care? ARCHIVED

30 August 2019

About 2 mins to read

Long read

Five messages for government about priorities and options for social care reform in England.

Long read

Health and social care funding

23 November 2019

About 10 mins to read

Long read

We explore the level of funding that the next government will need to commit to in order to maintain...

Yorkshire, Midlands and North East MPs urged to protect constituents from crippling care costs in key parliamentary vote

Press release
22 April 2022

The Health Foundation and the King's Fund urge Yorkshire, Midlands and North East MPs to protect constituents from crippling care costs in key parliamentary vote.

Government's proposed amendment to the Care Act would be a step in the wrong direction

Press release
7 March 2022

Our response to the House of Lords vote to reject the government’s amendment to the Care Act.

The Care Act amendment: who is set to lose out?

25 February 2022

Charles Tallack sets out what the proposed amendment to the social care cap will really mean for people needing care.

How can we think long term when the issues facing the health service are so urgent?

9 February 2022

Toby Watt rounds up the REAL Centre’s current work to reflect on how best to strike the balance between crisis management and long-term planning for the NHS and social care.

Government’s proposed amendment to social care cap puts more people at risk of catastrophic care costs, particularly those in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the Midlands

Press release
7 February 2022

Our joint report with Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) finds that the proposed government amendment would impact most strongly those older people with modest levels of wealth.

Last minute changes to social care reforms are a step in the wrong direction

Press release
18 November 2021

Health Foundation response to the government's proposed amendment to its planned social care charging reforms.

Health Foundation response to Spending Review 2021

Press release
27 October 2021

Welcome investment in public services but lack of NHS workforce plan, and insufficient funding for social care and public health hinders recovery

Getting REAL on future health and social care funding

22 October 2021

What’s next, and what’s needed, for health and social care funding? Elaine Kelly rounds up recent evidence from the REAL Centre.

Growing concern about shortfall in social care workforce

Press release
12 October 2021

Health Foundation response to the Skills for Care annual report, State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England.

How much does the NHS and social care workforce need to grow by over the next decade to meet demand?

1 October 2021

In the next decade the NHS workforce needs to grow twice as fast and the social care workforce four times as fast as in the previous decade to meet demand.

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