If you were to look in a mirror and ask yourself if the provision for care in the UK is;
1. Good enough for you or a loved one?
2. Affordable and accessible to you?
3. Fit for the aspirations & expectations of future generations?
If you could answer yes to the above then social care would be in a good state. The truth is however, it isn’t!!
For the last few months the care of our older generation has been highlighted in the media.
Several studies into the problems in the care sector, mainly from the EHRC into those who receive care at home and the CQC into care for the elderly, have suggested the sector is in dire need of reform. Just look at how we currently fund social care.
The Commission on Funding of Care and Support has presented its findings to the Government in its “Dilnot Report” stating that very thing, reform, now!
At first the publicity around social care was everywhere, we were shown the disgusting panorama footage of rogue carers at the Castlebeck facility in Bristol, and watched as residential care home giant Southern Cross fell apart at the seams.
In his conclusion of the report, Andrew Dilnot stated quite clearly;
“Reform of the social care funding system is long overdue. We can wait no longer; the time for reform is now.”
What does the report suggest will be done about capacity, or more importantly quality? Unfortunately nothing!
This is the conclusion we were all expecting, but from where will the £billions come from to pay for it?
6 years ago the UKs biggest insurers stopped trying to sell us cover for long term care, surely if the likes of BUPA and Scottish Widows could not sell the dream of long term care insurance then, what hope will insurers have now?
The state of the UK care industry is by no means unique in the world, yes the populous is growing and yes medical science is helping us live longer but at a time when the government is cutting every cost it can and waving its deficit reduction figures around like a winning lottery ticket, where will the required £2billion a year come from?
If we raise NI contributions for care this year will the situation be resolved?
I personally do not believe so, capacity will certainly not be increased and how would quality be tested. it will mean that we the public have accepted another precedent so when we need more money for policemen to control rioting the government could happily raise it again, much like fuel – it hit 70p and the blockades were out, now we are watching fuel creep up to £1.50 a litre in some places but what action is taken by the government, a 0.01p decrease compared to the almost £0.60 tax HMRC dutifully collect on each litre.
The point of this rant – to generate the revenue required to reform social care, the government has no option but to tax us in some way, but rest assured, like fuel, what goes up does not come down. Andrew Dilnot’s suggestion of a £35k cap is a sensible step towards making the cover of long term care insurable, however if the cap in individual contributions is set much higher and the tax free lump sum on all pension funds is extended for those that buy the long term care cover, it should be cheaper for the government and stimulate insurers to offer policies for purchase against the risk.
The spotlight is once again off of social care and recent events will dominate the news for a while to come. Unfortunately there will always be big news stories in the media, but that should not affect the countries ability to apply pressure to the government to carry out (or at least begin) reform within the post code lottery care sector. I myself wait for the day when we can look in the mirror and proudly say yes to the 3 points above.
Pictured Tony Upward