Care system urgently needs reform

4 July 2011
A group of leading health charities, including the National Council for Palliative Care, has urged the government to act on the recommendations of a report into the funding of social care.

In a letter published in The Telegraph on Sunday 3 July, the charities implore the government to act on the Dilnot Report into Funding of Care and Support, saying: 'Otherwise the terrible stories of the last months, of neglect and abuse of the most vulnerable, will only grow worse'.

The letter states: 'A good social care system to meet growing demand will not be cheap and will require fundamental reform. But we cannot ignore the demographic reality of a rapidly ageing population and people with disabilities and long-term conditions living longer.'

The commission's report calls for a cap of £35,000 on the amount an individual would have contribute to their care costs during their lifetime. Above that, the state would pay a standard rate for care, regardless of the individual's financial circumstances.

People would still be liable for costs of accommodation and food in a care home, but this would be capped at £10,000 a year.

In addition, the commission is calling for a big increase in the threshold of savings and assets above which the state offers no help with care costs. The limit should rise from £23,250 to £100,000, it says.

Together, these two recommendations would ensure that no individual would have to spend more than 30% of their wealth on care. At present, many people are at risk of losing 90% of their savings and assets.

Simon Chapman, Director of Policy and Parliamentary Affairs at the National Council for Palliative Care, said: “People’s care needs are at their greatest in the last year of life. It is therefore vital that we think creatively about how to join social care and end of life care agendas effectively to produce the best possible care. Funding mechanisms are vital, but if we are to build a national consensus around the funding of long term social care the debate needs to be about people’s quality and experience of care as well.”

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