Social care sector 'needs urgent reform'
Published on 29 May 2012 02:30 PM
Health experts have called for urgent reforms in the ways by which the social care system is funded.
With longevity rates on the rise, figures from the Nuffield Trust suggest that social care spending will hit £23 billion in 2025/26, up from the £14.6 billion recorded in 2010/11, if reforms are not introduced.
It is feared that the current system could cause some older people to slip through the net in the coming few years, missing out entirely on adequate care.
Wealthier consumers might need to be taxed more to raise extra funding for the social care system, the think-tank indicates.
But it said that a lot of the money needed to change the system could be found from the existing £140 billion budget for older people in the UK.
Among its suggestions for reform, the body added that free TV licences and bus passes for older consumers, and other universal benefits, could be restricted in the future.
It noted that people's eligibility to receive care could also be extended by tackling a £1.5 billion NHS under-spend in this area.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK commented: 'Age UK welcomes the Nuffield Trust's well-timed report on the options for the future funding of social care.
'As the Government prepares to publish the White Paper on Social Care and a Progress Funding Report, it is vital for the three main political parties and Government departments to reach agreement on the scope and scale of required funding reform.
'The Nuffield Trust's "Reforming Social Care: Options For Funding" will be a useful asset in opening up an honest debate about how the Government and individuals need to plan for a new sustainable system of paying for social care.
'Age UK believes courage and conviction is required to address the reform and funding of social care, and is working with older people, their families, local authorities and Government to reach resolution of one of the defining social policies of the 21st century.'
Copyright Press Association 2012