Social care funding plans cautiously welcome


12 / 2 / 2013 10.08am

A cap on care costs and measures to negate the need for the elderly to sell their homes to pay for residential care, are among some of the reforms to social care funding announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt on 11 February.

The new measures are based on the recommendations made by the Dilnot Commission in 2011.

Funding gap

The NHS Confederation last year warned the Government to address the current funding gap for social care and to implement a long-term solution. The organisation called on the Government to implement the Dilnot Commission proposals on funding as soon as possible and start a cross-party consensus on solving the challenges.

Raiding NHS budgets

Commenting on Jeremy Hunt's reforms, NHS Confederation interim director of policy, Jo Webber, said: "[The] announcement shows the Government has rightly examined a range of funding options to meet the costs of the Dilnot Commission's proposals.

We previously warned that raiding NHS budgets to fund social care would have been akin to rearranging deckchairs while the whole health and care system slowly sank, so we are pleased to see that this warning has been heeded.

Significant long-term changes

"Funding Dilnot's recommendations is only half the story. The fact that we are living longer is a testament to the improvements in health and care we have seen since the inception of the NHS. However, without significant long-term changes to improve the range and reach of social care, the NHS will continue to stagger under the growing needs of our ageing population.

"This is not only a recipe for disaster for the sustainability of the health service, but it also means that, potentially, people will continue to find themselves in a crisis before they get the care and support they require and rightly deserve."

Eligibility thresholds

She continued: "We need to see a clear outline of eligibility thresholds so that people understand the levels of support they can expect in old age, and so the NHS – working with its local partners - can plan to provide the right care and support for people where and when they need it."

Find out more

Read our briefing Papering over the cracks: the impact of social care funding on the NHS.

Find out more about social care.

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