Councils and the NHS seek to make economies in the face of reduced central government funding. Care home operators could shift more of the burden of paying for long-term care onto private individuals and the NHS in the future as council budgets come under increasing pressure, says a report published by Laing & Buisson.
Free care is likely to be denied to all but the elderly with the most critical needs as public spending cuts hit local authorities, says the NHS Confederation. Already, 72% of councils only provide care for people with substantial or critical needs, up from 53% in 2005, with most elderly people expected to fund their own care.
Stephen Burke of the charity Counsel and Care says the care system is "in crisis and in danger of heading towards a melt-down". The current commission developing recommendations for long-term care funding will not report until July 2011 and legislation is unlikely to be put in place until 2014.