Care funding is too important to be allowed to limp off the political agenda

Monday 27 June 2011

Care funding is too important to be allowed to limp off the political agenda

Ministers must stop playing pass the time bomb and ignoring warnings from frontline experts that the catastrophic consequences can be defused with an urgent White Paper setting out reforms based on the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support, says Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga, the over-50s organisation.

“Leaks of the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission seem to have prompted comments in the media claiming that there may be political disagreements, and that some Ministers would be happy to see the issue buried deep in the long grass, but cross-party consensus is desperately needed,” said Dr Altmann.

“How many elderly people have been consigned to inadequate care, had their care funding withdrawn, been forced to sell their homes - or put additional pressure on their families - since the care funding issue was subject to political point-scoring ahead of the General Election? Having set up this Commission, its recommendations must not be ignored. This is a national issue, with importance well above party politics.

“People are used to the idea of spending on their own care, or care for a relative. The Dilnot recommendations will fit nobody’s needs nor expectations perfectly, but if the leaks are to be believed, then at last there would be a defined figure people need to save for, rather than facing unlimited catastrophic costs. That clarity is key and crucial.

“Care has always been the health sector’s poor relation in the eyes of the policymakers, but to the people who are in need of care, - and their families -care funding is essential. As figures show that care funding is falling by over 8% - even while the numbers of people needing care are rising - it is clear that we need a new approach.

"By integrating care services into the NHS, billions could be saved in future health costs that will otherwise swamp our system. We have to keep providing care to people with moderate needs, and spend money on early intervention, which will prevent elderly people ending up in hospital and give them more quality of life.

“When Dilnot reports, listen carefully and act quickly. That is our message to Government.”

-ENDS-

For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529

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