The NHS Confederation has reported that more than 150,000 members of the public and more than 50 health leaders are calling on prime minister Boris Johnson to take action to address the escalating ‘crisis in care’.

In what is believed to be the largest petition of its kind, the Prime Minister is urged to end the swingeing cuts in social care that have left around 1.4 million older people in England unable to access the care and support they need.

In the letter addressed to the PM, NHS leaders welcomed his commitment to ‘fix the crisis in social care once and for all’, pledging their support and calling for cross-party talks to help deliver a more sustainable social care system, backed up by a long-term financial settlement.

They are also urging consideration for immediate funding increases in the upcoming one-year government spending review that is being conducted this autumn to shore up care services in the short term, as well as genuine long-term funding alongside key reforms to help deliver a solution for social care that lasts a generation and more. This must ‘include a widening of the eligibility criteria to ensure those people most in need get the care and support they require.’

Both the letter and petition have been organised by the NHS Confederation, which leads the Health for Care coalition of 15 national health organisations who have joined forces to make the case for social care.

The campaign has been undertaken by a variety of professionals and health leaders, spanning hospital, mental health, community services and clinical commissioning groups up and down the country.

The involvement comes from those who believe “extra investment and reform of social care is not only the right thing to do for vulnerable people who need support, but that a failure to deliver a solution will result in further pressure on local hospital and other NHS services,” announced the confederation.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said that the “level of distress being experienced by hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people and their carers is now much greater and on a wider scale than at any time in living memory.”

He also referred to the situation as a “crisis”, and announced that it has to be “urgently addressed.”

He continued, “We welcome the Prime Minister’s early commitment to find a solution. As our petition shows, the public recognise the human cost of inaction and they want this resolved. Successive governments have failed to address this issue – the new Government has a chance to put this right.”

Those behind the petition believe that failure to deliver a reasonable solution will put the NHS Long Term Plan at risk.