Responding to the Dilnot Commission report, Senior Fellow at The King's Fund, Richard Humphries, said;
'In establishing the Dilnot Commission, ministers challenged it to produce a blueprint for a care system that is fair, affordable and sustainable. Today’s report delivers on that challenge and offers a credible and costed way forward. The government must now move quickly to endorse the framework for reform it sets out; outline a clear timetable for change; and honour its commitment to bring forward legislation in 2012.
'Where previous attempts at reform have failed due to lack of political consensus, this report offers the prospect of a lasting settlement based on a new partnership between the individual and the state – a principle long argued for by The King's Fund. While we need to study the detail, overall, the recommendations appear to strike a balance between fairness and affordability that all the political parties should be able to support.
'The budget deficit should not be used as a reason for inaction. This is a long-term issue and questions of affordability go beyond the current economic situation. The additional public expenditure needed to fund these proposals is less than 0.25 per cent of gross domestic product – this should not be too high a price to pay for providing a care system fit for the 21st century.
'The proposals to cap individual liability for the costs of care and raise the upper threshold of the means test would protect people against the worst aspects of the current care lottery and deliver a more generous system.
'While the funding proposals will no doubt generate the headlines, there are a number of other important recommendations including national eligibility criteria and portable assessments, better information and advice, and improvements to the deferred payment scheme. We also welcome the emphasis on integrating health and social care services – a more unified system will deliver benefits for the NHS and social care alike.
'The coalition agreement stated that the government understood the urgency of reforming the social care system. A year on, the need for reform is even more pressing. Where they have failed in the past, politicians from all parties must now seize the best opportunity in a generation to ensure that people can access the care and support they deserve in later life.'
Notes to editors:
Richard Humphries, Senior Fellow in Social Care at The King's Fund, is available for interview. For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team at The King's Fund on 020 7307 2585 (if you are calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146 035).
In 2006, The King's Fund published Securing good care for older people: taking a long-term view following a review of social care funding in England led by Sir Derek Wanless. This proposed a 'partnership model' under which responsibility for the costs of social care would be shared between the individual and the state. In March 2010, we published Securing good care for more people: Options for reform which updated the 2006 report and set out a revised version of the partnership model.
The King's Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.