Editorial Comment: Is wanless’s view winning?

Momentum is building for a Wanless-style reform of the adult care funding system through the forthcoming green paper.

Last week, the Liberal Democrats joined the Conservatives in supporting the partnership model, as proposed by Derek Wanless in his landmark report on older people’s social care in 2006.

Under the model, everyone would receive a level of free care. Above this, the state would match funding from individuals up to the full cost of care, with the poorest having theirs topped up through the benefits system.

This growing consensus is supported by research. A survey by Help the Aged, Counsel and Care and Carers UK shows two-thirds of the public aren’t saving enough to cover social care costs in old age, compounding the problems we already face with tightening eligibility criteria.

It follows research by the Caring Choices coalition that show nine out of 10 older people, carers and social care practitioners want universal state funding. There would be clear advantages to this approach. If everyone was eligible for state support, everyone would be aware of the costs and benefits of social care. It would finally gain the electoral significance it deserves. And that’s why Community Care also supports the partnership model.

But the government appears cold on the idea, only saying that self-funding will still play a role. The government started the debate now it is time for its vision to be heard. ➔ See p5 and www.communitycare.co.uk/blogs/social-work-blog

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Mike Broad

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