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What is social care and how does it work?

Bite-sized social care

Here we have pulled together a range of content to help explain social care in England, including a series of short videos on what social care is, how it’s provided and paid for, and how it works with the NHS and other services.

What is social care?

What exactly do we mean when we talk about social care? It’s difficult to define because the term covers a huge range of different activities, from child protection to end-of-life care – and it certainly doesn’t have the recognisable brand that the NHS does. In this video we look at what adult social care consists of, the responsibilities of local government, and the wider societal context.

Who provides social care?

Social care is delivered by a wide range of organisations and professionals, and within families and communities. More people work in adult social care than you might think, but the number of unpaid carers dwarfs both the health and social care workforce put together. In this video we break down the numbers, and take a look at what people providing social care actually do.

How is social care paid for?

Many people are surprised to learn that social care is not free at the point of use in the way that NHS care is. Rather, social care is funded by people paying for their own care, by local government, or often a mixture of the two. Local government budget cuts have significantly increased pressures on the social care system, resulting in one of the most difficult policy challenges of our times. In this video we give an overview of how social care is funded.

Social care, the NHS and other services

Adult social care is part of a complex system of services and support – including the NHS. How well the various components of a person’s care are integrated can impact on their personal experience of care. This video explains the importance of different services working together to provide care.

Health and care explained

Join us at our award-winning Health and care explained event to learn about the system, the challenges for the future of health care and current plans to address them.