On Monday 4 July 2011, the Commission on Funding of Care and Support (the Dilnot Commission) delivered its recommendations on the future funding of care and support.
Read about the current situation on care funding, and what we would like to see from care reform:
What’s happening on care?
The Dilnot Commission was set up in July 2010 by the coalition Government, tasked with making recommendations for changes to the funding of care and support in England. It published its recommendations on 4 July 2011. The independent Commission is chaired by the economist Andrew Dilnot.
Social care is the name given to the range of care and support services that help frail and disabled people remain independent, active and safe - for example, help with getting out of bed, bathing and preparing cooked meals.
Social care provided by councils is currently means-tested. That means that those who are above a particular threshold are charged in part or in full for their care.
Those who need residential care or long-term support can pay thousands of pounds for care over their lifetime, and some have to sell their home to pay for this.
The Dilnot Commission
There is no doubt that reform is needed quickly to support people using care services currently, as well as preparing better care for future users.
The key test of the Government’s response is whether it will commit to publish a White Paper by Easter, including details on how the new proposals will be funded.
The Dilnot Commission published its recommendations on 4 July 2011:
What does the Dilnot Commission mean for you?
Read the report
Care in crisis
Social care services are under growing financial pressure as a result of stand-still budgets over the last decade combined with the more recent budget cuts in local government budgets. There is also greater demand for services than ever: since 2004 the number of people over 85 has risen by two-thirds; demand outstrips supply.
As a result, councils are rationing services by only offering support to people with very high levels of care needs - for example, those who need help getting out of bed, going to the toilet, washing and other essential daily tasks.
Today people with fewer needs, who might once have received a few hours of ‘home help’ or a visit to a day centre, usually get nothing.
There's very little investment in preventative services and when people do need to arrange care, it is generally due to a crisis in their circumstances. It's very difficult to predict what care will be available and to plan ahead.
What does Age UK want to see from care reform?
Age UK has three key priorities for long term care reform:
- Those on the lowest income and with the highest needs should be the first to get better services as these people are the most reliant on state provision of services. The quality and availability of services need to be improved so that state provision is high quality, provides choice and supports people’s human rights.
- Those with mid and high wealth are assisted with very high care costs by provision of a non means-tested contribution towards care for all those with eligible needs. This protection could take the form of a limited liability cap or a universal payment or minimum level of care available to all those who need it.
- A new system must prioritise preventative services, both to improve the quality of life of those who use a service and also to intervene before care needs become high and expensive.