Commenting in response to the Commission for Social Care Inspection's annual State of Social Care report, The King's Fund chief executive, Niall Dickson, said:
'Today's report is a wake up call for a system that is failing the vast number of older and disabled people who do not qualify for state-supported social care.
'Local councils are catering for a dwindling number of people – increasingly it is only those with the most severe need that are being helped – the rest are not being given the support they need. The result is real hardship and wasted resources because the system too often fails in supporting people to live independently without the need for more expensive support.
'Today's report also reveals unacceptable variation between – and even within – local councils when it comes to deciding who is eligible for support. We welcome the government's announcement of a review of the rules on eligibility, although that can only be a first step towards addressing the glaring inconsistencies in the current arrangements.
'We have long argued that social care is under-funded – local authorities are struggling with rising demand and inadequate resources. We need a new funding system in England – preferably one that combines a clear-cut entitlement to care and support with a sharing of costs between individuals and the state. We also need to establish what should be provided as a universal entitlement and what should be determined locally. What is more, the process for setting entitlement must be fair and transparent.'
Notes to editors:
- For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
- Securing Good Care for Older People: Taking a long-term view, the King’s Fund commissioned report into the future of social care funding by Sir Derek Wanless, was published in March 2006.
- The King's Fund was part of Caring Choices, a coalition of 15 organisations from across the long-term care system that sought to gather the views of older people, carers and others with direct experience of the system on how care should best be funded in the future. Throughout 2007, the coalition engaged with more than 700 individuals at a series of consultation events across England and Scotland and through an interactive website.
- The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.