Social care leaders are staunchly opposed to a voluntary insurance solution to long-term care funding despite increasing evidence that this is what the commission on reforming the system will recommend.
At a Local Government Association event last night, no one out of the audience of council chiefs, social care managers and heads of charities voiced any support for the voluntary insurance model. A show of hands revealed overwhelming support for compulsory insurance.
However, there is increasing evidence that the Commission on Funding Care and Support will back a voluntary system of payments to top-up care funded by the state.
Last month commissioner Norman Warner, a former Labour health minister, told a conference that the idea of compulsion “doesn’t feel to me as though it fits the public mood music at the moment, or the mood music for the foreseeable future”. The commission’s chair Andrew Dilnot told Community Care last week that “the distinction between compulsory and voluntary is of little consequence”, given the commission’s belief that any future funding system would require contributions from the state and individual.
And the third commissioner, Jo Williams, hinted that a voluntary approach would be recommended in a speech to last night’s LGA event.
“It’s imperative to come up with recommendations which will get public support and support from national and local government,” said Williams, who is chair of the Care Quality Commission.
Nye Jones, director of business development at social care insurance provider Partnership, said this comment pointed to a voluntary model, given the Conservatives’ longstanding opposition to a compulsory insurance scheme.
However, he added: “A voluntary scheme will not work long term, it’s not the solution.”
“A voluntary approach for insurance doesn’t work anywhere in the world,” said Richard Jones, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services. “This is going to need pump-priming and the deal has got to have some kind of comprehensive offer.”
A senior social care source said such heavy opposition within the social care sector presented big complications to the implementation of any voluntary system.
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