Make social care ‘free at the point of need’, say former Labour and Tory ministers

Labour and Tory ministers have called on the government to make social ‘free at the point of need’.

The Lord Darzi Review of Health and Social Care published by the IPPR says the government must include social care in its long-term settlement for the NHS.

Top NHS surgeon and former Labour Health Minister Lord Darzi said: “We must demand that we do care differently by embracing new technologies and empowering people to live healthier lives. This will mean caring as much about social care and public health as the NHS and embracing reform as much as additional funding.”

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The report call for free social care for those with ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ care needs, bringing currently means-test provision in line with the NHS principle of ‘free at the point of need’.

Elderly people in residential accommodation would still be expected to pay their own housing costs if they can afford to, as at present.

The report points out that cuts in social care funding over the last decade have led to an average fall of 5% annually in the number of people receiving state-funded care.

The reform would require annual spending on social care to double, from its current level of around £17bn to £36bn, by 2030. The report recommends that funding this during the current parliament by putting a penny (1p) on National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for employers, employees and the self-employed, as part of a wider settlement for the NHS.

 

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