Gov’t reaffirms commitment to long-term care
The government is committed to implementing social care reform, Shaun Gallagher, director of policy for the department of health, has stated.
During a meeting of the all-party parliamentary group for local government on social care, he said the Dilnot commission’s report into funding long-term care was “not in the past” and that the government was set to respond to the recommendations.
Mr Gallagher said: “The government has recognised the importance and urgency in addressing this area. It remains the case that it will respond to the questions it asked Dilnot to look at.”
However, he added the recommendations Dilnot made “do involve a cost, so the government has to think of how to implement the cost. There is no simple or straightforward answer to that.”
He went on to tell the cross-party committee of MPs there is a “huge amount of ignorance and lack of awareness” on how the care system works and that it must be fair and reward those who plan ahead for their own care.
He added any new funding system must integrate other services, such as the NHS and housing, with local government playing a leading role in delivery, and particularly supporting self-funders.
The comments followed a report in the Financial Times that suggested social care reform will be delayed until the next Parliament, despite coalition promises in 2010 that legislation for a legal and financial framework for adult social care would happen in 2012/2013.
Janet Davies, joint founder of care consultancy Symponia, said: “While the government tinkers around the edges of the problem, real people still need care.
“Future generations will get a better deal but hundreds of thousands of elderly people are already either in care homes or receiving assistance at home. For most, any reforms will simply be too late.”
Spokesmen for the DoH and Downing Street declined to comment.
Toni Chalmers-Smith, senior financial adviser for Hertfordshire-based Tee Financial, said: “So many people are going into care and their families don’t have a clue what it will cost.
“By delaying these reforms the government is delaying the whole social care debate, which we hoped would bring the subject into the public arena to be openly discussed.
“There is a total lack of information about care costs and these reforms created an opportunity for a public awareness campaign. We must keep the momentum going. It really must be addressed and I hope it is in parliament.”
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