|‘Time to stop kicking the can down the road’!|
The HoL Economic Affairs Committee has published its report - Social care funding: time to end a national scandal.
The report recommends that the Government immediately spends £8bn to restore social care to acceptable standards and then introduces free personal care over a period of 5 years.
The Committee found that publicly funded social care support is shrinking, as diminishing budgets have forced local authorities to limit the numbers of people who receive public funding. Funding is £700m lower than 2010/11 in real terms, despite continuing increases in the numbers of people who need care. More than 400,000 people have fallen out of the means test, which has not increased with inflation since 2010.
Social care funding is unfair; “The whole system is riddled with unfairness. Someone with dementia can pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for their care, while someone with cancer receives it for free”. In addition, national funding for social care is distributed unequally across local authorities.
The funding shortfall has meant local authorities are paying care providers a far lower rate for local authority-funded care recipients than self-funded care recipients, and those care providers with a high proportion of local authority-funded care recipients are struggling to survive.
To address unfairness in the system the Committee proposes bringing the entitlement for social care closer to the NHS by introducing free personal care, which would include help with washing, dressing or cooking.Those in care homes would still pay for their accommodation & assistance with less critical needs like housework or shopping. Those receiving care in their own homes would not have to pay accommodation costs, which may encourage care users to seek essential help with personal care early. This model would cost £7bn per year according to the Health Foundation and the King’s Fund, only £2bn more than the Government’s 2017 "cap and floor" proposal.
|Editorial Commentary; Health & Social Care funding|