Ministers under Pressure from Councils for Elderly Care Reform

Wednesday, 25th January 2012

Published 25 January 2012.

A group of 41 local authority representatives has written to The Telegraph in order to increase pressure on the Government to reform the way in which social care is funded in the UK. Without necessary changes it is argued that the ‘dignity of older people and of adults who need social care’ will be at risk.

Drafted by heads of adult social services in Kent, Leicestershire and Suffolk, the letter stresses that the difficulty of providing quality care should not be underestimated and, as people continue to live longer, rising costs will result in the social care system becoming increasingly unsustainable. Although the letter recognises that there is a need for government savings today, it argues that this should not be viewed as a reason to ‘hesitate’ in making reforms but rather a ‘spur to take action’.

The letter also suggests that the concept of a lifetime cap on an individual’s care costs recently outlined by Andrew Dilnot in his review of the funding of social care is adopted. The Dilnot Commission proposed that the cost an individual could incur for care is capped at £35,000, with the state providing support above this level. The aim of this was to enable financial services providers to create new products such as private insurance for care. The local authority representatives endorse this concept as a solution to protecting ‘our nation’s humanity’ and ‘the dignity of older people in Britain’. They do however accept that the cap may need to be set at ‘no more £50,000’ rather than £35,000, which is lower than the £60,000 recently proposed by the Department of Health.

This latest effort to encourage ministers to action reform is one of many ahead of a White Paper on social care due to be published by the Government in April 2012.

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Source: Telegraph, Department of Health, Carefound.