How can reform be achieved?
The Health Foundation and the King’s Fund have set out in a report their concerns about lack of progress on social care reform.
A fork in the road: next steps for social care funding reform highlights that fewer people are receiving publicly-funded care every year and the current system will lead to a funding gap of £6bn by 2030/31.
A return to levels of access and quality last seen in 2009/10, before austerity, would lead to a funding gap of £15bn, says the report.
The authors say that despite political consensus on the need for urgent action the lack of agreement on what should be done is a major barrier to progress.
Public awareness of the care system is low with 34% believing the government pays and 41% feeling care should be entirely tax-funded, says a British Social Attitudes survey.
According to Ipsos Mori, ‘most people’ would prefer a dedicated tax to stop the money being diverted elsewhere. Options that include people selling their homes to fund care, as exists now, were found to be ‘deeply unpopular’.
A fork in the road concludes there is a choice between a better means-tested system and an NHS-style free personal care system.
Free personal care would cost an extra £14bn and protecting people from having to sell their homes would cost an extra £12bn, says the report.