The government must give its proposed commission on the future of care funding a wide remit and take action on its recommendations, sector leaders have warned.
Today, the coalition said it would set up a commission, which will report within a year. However, the details of what it will examine are yet to be decided.
Richard Humphries, senior fellow at The King’s Fund, said: “The worry is that will be a re-run of the 1997 commission which went nowhere.”
Labour’s Royal Commission on Long-term Care for the Elderly had many of its recommendations accepted but its key proposal on funding – the introduction of free personal care – was rejected.
Emily Holzhausen, Carers UK’s director of policy and public affairs, said the commission ought to be given a wide remit to consider all options for funding reform.
In its programme for government, the coalition said the commission would be able to consider a range of options.
It mentioned two specifically: the voluntary insurance scheme favoured by the Tories and the partnership model backed by the Liberal Democrats and proposed by Derek Wanless in his landmark 2006 report on the issue for the King’s Fund.
Richard Jones, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, questioned whether the comprehensive option for funding care, whereby everyone would be compelled to pay into a scheme to pay for care, was still on the table.
Jones noted that the Tories had been the most vocal group opposing this option when it was discussed before the election.
Andrew Cozens, the Local Government Association’s strategic lead for adult social care, said the government still had to address pressing concerns such as capacity in the social care system. “There are immediate short-term issues as well as long-term ones and it’s got to see that,” he said.
Counsel and Care chief executive Stephen Burke echoed Cozens’ concerns. He said the commission must remain “focused on the urgent need for better care”.
Mencap’s campaigns manager, Esther Foreman, warned that younger disabled people should not be forgotten when the commission’s terms of reference are drawn up.