The King's Fund statement in response to Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on long-term care funding

Major reform of social care funding for older people is needed over the next five to ten years, but that should not prevent action being taken now to improve the care of older people, The King's Fund said today.

Speaking in response to a report published today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on long-term care funding, The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'This is a significant contribution to an important debate. There is growing consensus that the current means-testing system is not working well and most agree this will take some time to put right.

'But Joseph Rowntree Foundation are also right to call for more immediate action to improve the lives of older people and their carers today.'

The King's Fund commissioned former NatWest Group chief executive Sir Derek Wanless in January 2005 to undertake a review into the long-term funding of social care for older people. Sir Derek reported back in March 2006 and many of the key recommendations and findings are supported in today’s report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Niall Dickson added:

'Sir Derek Wanless' review found very serious shortcomings in social care provision and funding arrangements and it's clear that if more people are to receive care fairly and cost-effectively, then there should be more ambition in the outcomes sought for social care. The existing system is neither effective or fair. That's why scrapping the means-tested funding system and moving to a more universal, entitlement system, as both Sir Derek and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have recommended, could offer a sustainable way of providing good social care for all.

'The evidence is clear that significant increases in funding will be needed to meet demand over the next two decades. However, in the meantime many of the more short-term proposals made by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, such as raising personal allowances for older people, could help older people lead more independent lives.

'We hope both this report and the Wanless social care review will contribute to the government’s thinking during its forthcoming review into social care costs and funding ahead of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.'

Notes to editors: 

  1. 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.
  2. Sir Derek Wanless' report Securing Good Care for Older People: Taking a long-term view can be downloaded from the King's Fund website.
  3. In June 2005, The King's Fund published the findings of a year-long inquiry into care services for older people in London. The report, The Business of Caring: King's Fund inquiry into care services for older people in London, drew on the experience of older people and their carers, care staff and managers, regulators, and commissioners. The Inquiry concluded that there are major shortcomings in the current care system that disadvantage older people and their carers. Download The Business of Caring: King's Fund inquiry into care services for older people in London.
  4. 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.