A cross-party group of health experts has written a paper on long-term care. It rules out a fully tax-funded system or the current failing system. The suggested solution is a private-public partnership between government, individuals and insurers.
The paper – Long Term Care of the Elderly: Shaping the Future – is co-authored by Lord Warner, former Labour Health Minister; Stephen Dorrell, former Conservative secretary of state for health; Baroness Neuberger, Liberal Democrat; Lord Lipsey, Labour author of the minority report from the Royal Commission on Long Term Care for the Elderly; and Sir Derek Wanless, author of several reports on future NHS spending for HM Treasury.
The group argues that reform of long-term care funding for older people in England is long overdue. But to be effective, reforms need cross-party agreement, so that those needing care, their families, and care providers, can be confident that changes will survive any changes of government. People need to be able to plan for the long term with confidence.
The authors call for cross-party agreement from politicians, experts, care providers, and older people and their families to support:
- Fundamental, not piecemeal, reform to promote improvements in quality and capacity and to prepare for demographic challenges
- A frank and honest public debate about the scale of reform needed and its true costs
- Changes that will endure for the long term and that will truly meet the demands of an increasingly ageing population
- Future funding of social care to be a partnership between the state and individuals
- Acceptance that clear, universal, state-funded, free care funded through general taxation is not achievable
- A national system of funding, assessment and entitlement
- More help to family carers so that they do not suffer for their contribution to supporting society’s most vulnerable members
- An increase in both the quantity and quality of all types of formal social care
- A single point of information for individuals and their families that provides advice on the full range of services and entitlements available to them
- Choice; so that individuals can decide whether to remain at home or move into residential care, without undue incentives favouring one option over another
- The right for individuals to not have to sell their home during their lifetime to pay for care, but be able to release value from this asset during their lifetime if they prefer
- An entitlement to social care funded by the state for those individuals with negligible means
Mark Ellerby of Bupa comments, "Cross-party agreement is the only way that lasting, long-term reforms can be achieved. Every day we see families wrestling with a complex and disjointed system. Older people deserve a properly funded, reformed system that offers them a choice of appropriate care. Agreeing a new way to fund social care is critical to successful reform of the system.”