End the care crisis: Dilnot must be a ‘turning point’
Care and Support Alliance
In advance of the publication of the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations on care and support funding, 25 members of the Care and Support Alliance – organisations representing older people, those living with disabilities and long-term conditions and their families – have set out the case for reform. In a joint statement they said:
“The publication of the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations must be a turning point in social care. We can no longer ignore the demographic reality of an ageing population and people living longer with illness and disability. Nor can we ignore a growing number of stories of abuse, neglect and unmet need from a chronically underfunded care system, which now faces further cuts. Successive Governments have kicked the question of long-term care into the long grass. This must not happen again, and the public will not forgive delay or half-measures.
The time is past for tinkering with a crumbling system, and urgent, fundamental reform is needed. A central part of that, and our bottom line for reform, must be additional public funding.
The current system is a postcode lottery of often high charges and poor quality services. Years of underfunding, compounded by cuts this year, mean that hundreds of thousands are going without vital support to eat, wash and live their everyday lives. If we want a care and support system raised to the standards we would all expect, then substantial additional funding cannot be avoided. Hard choices need to be made about who pays, but we cannot afford for decisions to be postponed as too costly or too controversial.
Unless you’ve been through the social care system it is difficult to understand how urgently it needs reform. If you need medical treatment, the NHS provides wherever you live. But different councils provide different levels of care services, and the state only pays for the care of people with the lowest levels of income or savings. If you have savings, income or a home worth more than £23,250, the costs of care in your own home or in residential care can be catastrophic.
The current system means that someone with dementia and their family could end up having to pay over £100,000 for the costs of care. Disabled people who want to live independently face a lifetime of huge bills to get basic support. Carers caring round the clock for loved-ones are forced to pay hundreds of pounds to get a few hours rest.
This is not simply a question of a societal duty to a small group of the vulnerable. Every family in this country will be affected by ageing, illness and disability. We all need a care and support system which protects families from catastrophic care costs, ends the postcode lottery in care and delivers fairness, dignity and independence.”