Be more efficient to solve adult care funding crisis, says Patricia Hewitt

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has suggested the adult social care funding crisis should be solved by greater efficiency now and increased financial contributions from users and families in the future.

In a web chat yesterday on the Number 10 Downing Street site, Hewitt was asked how current funding pressures on adult social care budgets and the future rise in demand could be tackled.

In response, Hewitt said, “We do have to get smarter about the way we spend taxpayers’ money to support elderly people”, through integrated community health and social care.

And she added: “As we look ahead longer term, though, with more and more people living far longer, we will need to think as a society about how we share the costs between individuals, families and society as a whole through taxes.”

She made no mention of how social care may fare in this year’s comprehensive spending review, which will determine government spending limits from 2008 to 2011.

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