Councils have warned Britain is facing a care crisis Last year research found nine in ten care workers have witnessed abuse in homes with pensioners tied to chairs, starved and turned into the victims of cruel pranks.The study by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council found widespread neglect and attacks on care home residents, with psychological games most commonly cited as the type of abuse witnessed. The anonymous survey of staff members at five new care homes found 88 per cent had witnessed or suspected abuse in nursing homes which previously employed them. A poll of more than 800 GPs found 33 per cent said they were unable to contact social services when attempting to make such referrals, with 42 per cent saying they faced unacceptable delays in action being taken.Overall, the survey found that 59 per cent said the response from social services was inadequate.Dr Robert Morley, from the British Medical Association, said the statistics reflected pressures across the country, in a system which was “rapidly disintegrating”.Dr Ayesha Sharieff, GP and safeguarding lead for her practice in South London, said her team had ‘huge problems’ getting in touch with social care.She said it was often “impossible” to get hold of social workers, who were often found to have left or be on stress-related leave. The figures show that the number of cases involving adults – usually elderly or disabled – has risen from 4,194 in 2013/14 to 5,615 in 2015/16 – an increase of 33 per cent. Meanwhile, cases involving children have also risen, with 7,906 reports in 2015/16 – an increase of four per cent in two years. Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said the findings were “truly frightening”.“You would expect any referral to social services from a GP to be seen as a top priority,” she said. “The fact that approaching two thirds of GPs are reporting the response back was inadequate tells you all you need to know about the enormous pressures on our underfunded social care system.”Earlier this week council chiefs said cuts to social care will continue this year despite ministers putting in an extra £1bn to meet extra pressures this year. Local authorities in England intend to make £824m of savings in their social care budgets, a survey of social services leaders found. Truly these are frightening findingsCaroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Reports of abuse and neglect of the elderly have risen by one third, amid warnings from GPs that the care system is “rapidly disintegrating”.The number of cases referred to social services under safeguarding rules has soared, new figures show, with more than 5,600 referrals last year – an increase of 33 per cent in two years.GPs said they were unable to secure help for the vulnerable after reporting concerns, with almost 60 per cent saying they had received an inadequate response from social services.Charities last night said the figures were “frightening” with thousands of pensioners in care homes and their own homes being left to be abused, even though concerns had been raised.The statistics, revealed under Freedom of Information disclosures, are part of an investigation by Pulse magazine, which found widespread concerns among GPs.Safeguarding concerns are lodged with social services or police when it is feared that a vulnerable person is being targeted for abuse or neglect.