Jeff Prestridge  

Still waiting on a 'fix' for care

Jeff Prestridge

Jeff Prestridge

Meanwhile, Mr Jobanputra emphasised the need for a greater societal focus on health and wellness so as to help curb the increase in conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Those aged 65 today, he said, would live on average for another 25 years, but only 11 of those years would be spent in ‘good’ health.

Mr Green did not pull any punches. He said 5.9m people would need care by 2040, compared with 3.5m in 2015.

Solutions

Three solutions, Mr Green added, were possible: long-term care absorbed within the NHS (“colossally expensive”); a cap on the amount people pay for care after which the state takes over responsibility (the ‘Dilnot’ solution); or some form of universal care entitlement topped up with insurance (his own solution as outlined in a paper issued last year by the Centre for Policy Studies). The insurance industry, Mr Green concluded, must step forward with ideas.

Of course Mr Green is right, although the insurance industry cannot be expected to work in the dark. It needs guidance from the government on its direction of travel so that it can come up with possible solutions.

According to Mr Green, the government believes the insurance industry is not keen on playing a part in the reform of long-term care funding.

That is certainly not the message conveyed by either Mr Jobanputra or Mr Constantinou. I trust those august people who run the Association of British Insurers are virtually knocking on government ministers’ doors, armed with a range of solutions.

For much of my 30 years as a journalist on a national newspaper, reform of long-term care funding has been on the political agenda.

It is reprehensible that no government has been bold enough to act decisively. It remains to be seen whether Mr Johnson’s creaking administration can do what previous governments have failed to achieve – and come up with the goods.

Wishing you a happy Christmas and a joyous New Year. Stay safe.

Jeff Prestridge is personal finance editor of The Mail on Sunday