White paper on social care system is welcome but leaves many grey areas

Welcoming the government's White Paper on social care reform, Dr Anna Dixon, acting chief executive of The King's Fund, said: 'The government has set out a bold and ambitious plan for reform which, if realised would establish a National Care Service free at the point of need. Defining a national entitlement would mean that people receive help based on their needs, not their postcode - a major achievement that would tackle the perceived unfairness of the current social care system

'However, the White Paper leaves a number of key questions unanswered. What level of need will be covered? How much is it going to cost and who will foot the bill? The absence of any costings makes it difficult to assess how affordable these plans are and how sustainable they would be in the long term. Our own analysis suggests the introduction of free personal care would see net public spend rise from £10.7bn in 2015 to £16.8bn in 2026.'

'We welcome a staged approach but this will only work if detailed proposals are set out without delay. While political consensus is vital further deliberation could slow down the momentum for reform.

'We know that public services face an unprecedented squeeze on resources over the next four years at a time when care services will face increasing demographic need. Whoever wins the next election must ensure that reform begins as soon as possible.'
 

08.04.2010

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