Two former members of the Royal Commission on Long Term Care have spoken out over Gordon Brown’s plan to provide free domiciliary care to those with the highest needs.
Lord Lipsey and Lord Joffe suggest the move will favour the better off as people realise they get for free what was previously paid for. They argue that because a number of poorer people get their care at home paid for by means-tested benefits, the majority of the extra spending will benefit those who currently pay their own costs. The peers also argue the system incentivises individuals to stay at home in order to avoid admission to a care home where they would have to meet the cost of their personal care.
An estimated 45,000 people each year are forced to sell their houses to pay for long-term residential care. Many more are funding the costs out of income or are gradually running up the debt against their property, with current government policy insisting that people with assets of more than £23,000 must pay the full price of residential care.
The Conservatives plan social care funding and legislation to prevent patients having to sell their homes to pay for residential care. It also plans pilot schemes to build patients’ ability to look after themselves post hospital.