Loneliness is a problem for hundreds of people who receive social care in Sutton, according to official figures.

In an NHS survey of people using social care, 60 percent said they had not had as much contact as they wanted with people they like in 2017/18, but it is down from 63 percent seven years ago, the earliest period with available data.

Charities fighting against loneliness and for elderly people's rights called on the Government to increase the funding for social care workers and community services.

In Sutton, there were 345 social care users surveyed last year, of which 206 felt lonely, according to Public Health England estimates.

Many receiving social care are elderly people, while there are also some younger adults with disabilities.

The survey questioned those over 18 receiving long-term support funded or managed by social services.

The percentage who wanted more contact in Sutton was above the average for England, where the proportion was 54 percent.

Nationally, more elderly people in the survey were affected by loneliness – 57 percent of those over 75 compared with 41 percent of the young adults between 25 and 34 years.

On average, 55 percent of women wanted more company, compared with 52 percent of men.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK said: "Paid carers are under huge time pressure and often don’t have time for the niceties. This is very sad for older people who use care, many of whom are living alone and find it hard to get out and meet people.

"Moreover, many older people receiving care tell us there is no continuity in the paid carers who come to help them and this also reduces the chances of building a proper relationship. This situation is also pretty soul-destroying for the paid carers, reducing their job satisfaction and making it less likely they will want to stay.

"When underfunding makes care an increasingly transactional affair, rather than relationship based, everyone loses out and loneliness among older people is sure to rise."

The Government has recognised loneliness as one of the main challenges faced by British society.

GPs in England will be able to refer patients experiencing loneliness to community activities and voluntary services by 2023.

Three quarters of GPs surveyed by the Government have said they are seeing between one and five people a day suffering with loneliness, which is linked to a range of damaging health impacts, like heart disease, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Official estimates point out that around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.