Caring Choices coalition ups the pressure on government to reform long-term care

The care system for older people is not sustainable and must be reformed, a 15-strong coalition of social care and health organisations warns today.

The Caring Choices coalition run by the King’s Fund, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Help the Aged and Age Concern, and supported by 11 other organisations, is calling for a major public debate on how people will pay for care in the future.

The call follows the review of social care funding for older people by Sir Derek Wanless for the King’s Fund last year that recommended an end to means-testing and a universal entitlement to care based on need.

It comes ahead of the comprehensive spending review due to be released this autumn that will set government funding limits from 2008-11, amid concerns that social care will not get a cash increase in real terms.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the King’s Fund, said today: “The Wanless review demonstrated that the current long-term care system is not sustainable for the future. A proper debate about roles, responsibilities and risks – and the trade-offs we are prepared to make as individuals and as a society – should make a big contribution to policy development in this important area.”

The coalition is inviting older people and their carers, care providers, commissioners and care workers as well as policy makers to a series of events aiming to discuss the possible future shape of the system for older people with long-term care needs.

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: ”At present, relatively few people know at first hand the full extent of the chaos within long-term care. As our population ages, more and more people will be confronted with this uncomfortable truth. And you can see the anxiety already. Now is the time to discuss honestly and openly about making the system work for all.”
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