Persistent neglect of social care is damaging patient care across the NHS, health leaders have warned.
A snap poll by the NHS Confederation found 97% of leaders thought the social care crisis is having a damaging effect on the NHS and on patient care.
The survey of more than 130 health leaders, including representatives across NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups, private providers and local systems, also found 81% agreed strongly that the social care sector needs a long-term plan and significant investment.
More than 70% said creating a sustainable social care system was a critical priority for their specific setting.
In the run up to the general election, the NHS Confederation is asking parliamentary candidates to pledge their support to fix social care in England so that everyone gets the help they need, when they need it.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the survey demonstrates just how seriously the social care crisis is impacting the NHS.
He warned that failure to grasp the nettle will mean even more people will go without the care they need and more pressure will be piled onto existing social care staff, as well as an already-stretched NHS.
“With 122,000 vacancies across social care services and 1.4 million people believed to be going without the care and support they need every day, the incoming government must seize the opportunity and come forward with proposals that will last a generation and more,” he added.