A group of charities has called for an urgent debate on the funding of long-term care of the elderly.
The Caring Choices coalition, which is run by the King's Fund, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Help the Aged, and Age Concern, claims that the system is not fit for the current number of pensioners.
The charities claim that, by 2050, there will be twice as many people over the age of 85 as there are now, and they warn that the system's failings need addressing so that solutions can be found.
Julia Unwin, director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, told the Daily Telegraph: "The current system is neither fair, clear nor sustainable, and the time has come to devise a system that is fit for the 21st century."
Many pensioners have found that their local NHS is not prepared to pay for their care and have been forced to pay for private care.
While some pensioners opt for private care in any case, those on modest incomes are finding it increasingly difficult to afford long-term care in retirement.
Independent advice on private healthcare