Three-quarters of people believe the reform of older people’s care is equal to or more important than key NHS reforms, according to a survey published today.
Research by think-tank the Resolution Foundation found that most people prioritised older people’s care above improving hospitals, provision of dental services and extending GP opening hours.
Researchers also found low earners were being “squeezed” by the care system, being too rich to qualify automatically for free state care and too poor to cope with care costs.
Care system too complex
Low earners were also more likely to have experience of the care system, and said they found it “complex, inaccessible and unfair”.
The social policy think-tank said the care system needed urgent reform and called for it to be a “top priority” alongside higher profile NHS reforms.
Sue Regan, chief executive of the foundation, added: “With a green paper [on adult social care funding] in the pipeline, now is the time to make sure that the elderly care system is not just tinkered with but undergoes fundamental reform.”
Responding to the findings, Stephen Burke, chief executive of older people’s charity Counsel and Care, said: “Many low earners think the current care system is unfair and gives them a poor deal. We need a new care system that is simple, fair, consistent, transparent and flexible. It must give everyone the right care and the right deal.”