As the Government is finalising its White Paper proposals for social care reform, an unprecedented alliance of organisations involved in providing, commissioning and using care has come to an agreed position calling for urgent and significant reform of the country's current unfair system.
Six point plan summary – we need:
1. A new national system for social care
2. National provision of information and sign posted advice
3. Extra funding for care system
4. Ensure that additional funding intended for adult social care is spent on adult social care.
5. Government to clarify what responsibility individuals have for social care needs - in a Dilnot-style partnership approach.
6. We must act now!
Social care is in crisis and tinkering with bits of the system will not do the trick. Following many months of meetings, during which the organisations have worked on finding an agreed common position, they are now calling on Ministers and MPs to seize this opportunity for radical change.
Charities, user groups, care providers and commissioners are agreed that we need:
1. A new national system for social care: The current care system is broken, it is in crisis and requires urgent reform. We need a new national system, one which is fairer, where care provision does not end up as a postcode lottery and which considers the needs of carers, as well as those needing care.
2. National provision of information and sign-posted advice: We need a national system of information and advice so that all who need care and all carers can find out what care they are entitled to and how to obtain it when needed. Preferably standard criteria that can help people understand the system.
3. The care system requires extra funding. As demand is rising, funding has been falling. We cannot deliver quality care unless we have more funding and councils require more money so they can invest in prevention and recovery and deliver better services. The funding for care has not kept pace with rising levels of need and this care funding gap must be closed. The NHS cannot deliver its cost-saving targets without adequate care reform.
4. We must ensure that additional funding intended for adult social care is spent on adult social care.
5. The Government must clarify what responsibility individuals have for social care needs - in a Dilnot-style partnership approach. The partnership approach between Government and individuals and their families must be clarified. We require a reformed, rational, national system, with both a cap on private responsibility for care costs and also a rise in the means-testing threshold.
6. We must act now! Dilnot has provided a framework for change and we have an unprecedented degree of consensus among providers, professionals, politicians, user groups and charities that care funding reform cannot be left for the future, it needs to happen now.
Dr Ros Altmann, Director- General of Saga, comments, "We now call on the Government to be bold, not to duck this difficult issue and to address the unfairness of the current care funding system. This is about families and communities who are having to pick up the pieces of our inadequate system.
The Prime Minister has urged as many people as possible to visit their MPs to express their concerns about the current system. It is vital that this issue is pushed up the political agenda."
The parties involved are:
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
English Community Care Association
Four Seasons Health Care
International Longevity Centre
The Stroke Association
United Kingdom Homecare Association