Sir Derek Wanless to head fundamental review of social care for older people

The King's Fund has commissioned former NatWest Group chief executive Sir Derek Wanless to carry out a fundamental review into the long-term demand for and supply of social care for older people in England.

This report will follow the two independent reviews Sir Derek conducted for the government on future health care spending in the UK and on public health in England. Although the social care review will focus on older people, The King's Fund hopes to move into other areas of adult social care, such as mental illness and learning disabilities once this review is complete.

Sir Derek, who is expected to report back the findings of his review by the spring of 2006, will:

  • examine the demographic, economic, social, health, and other relevant trends over the next 20 years that are likely to affect the demand for and nature of social care for older people aged 65 and over in England
  • identify the financial and other resources required to ensure that older people who need social care are able to secure comprehensive, high quality care that reflects the preferences of individuals receiving care
  • consider how such social care might be funded.

Sir Derek said:

'There is a great need for a review of the challenges and demands facing social care, and the resources that will be needed to deliver social care fit for the 21st century. Demand and expectations for social care services will increase and this growth may well outstrip growth in spending. Therefore, thinking about social care policy needs to be integrated with thinking about health care policy.

'Now is the right time to conduct a comprehensive review of the provision of social care for older people to find a sustainable, long-term financial settlement for social care. Our task is to set out the key factors driving demand for social care, and the likely costs over the next 20 years. We will then have to consider the resources required and how they should be paid for.'

The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'A serious, long-term analysis of how we fund social care is overdue. It was the missing piece in the original Wanless jigsaw and it remains one of the big unanswered policy questions. We believe this review should have a major impact on the way care and support for older people is delivered in this country.'

Sir Derek will lead a team of economists and social care specialists based at The King's Fund. The review is being undertaken in collaboration with the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at The London School of Economics (LSE). Julien Forder, senior research fellow and deputy director of LSE Health and Social Care, of which the PSSRU is a part, is being seconded to the review as project manager.

Find out more about the Wanless Social Care 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, or 07831 554927. An ISDN line will be available on the day for interviews.

2. As well as the project team, Sir Derek will be assisted by an advisory steering group consisting of:

  • Niall Dickson (Chair), chief executive, King's Fund
  • Professor John Appleby, chief economist, The King's Fund
  • Penny Banks, fellow, health and social care, King's Fund
  • Jennifer Dixon, policy director, The King's Fund
  • Jose-Luis Fernandez, research fellow, PSSRU, LSE
  • Julien Forder, senior research fellow and deputy director, PSSRU, LSE
  • Professor Martin Knapp, professor of social policy and director of PSSRU, LSE
  • Janice Robinson, senior advisor, health and social care, King's Fund.

3. Sir Derek has prepared two significant reports for the government on the NHS: Securing our Future Health: Taking a Long-Term View (April 2002) and Securing Good Health for the Whole Population (February 2004). Also, in 2003, Sir Derek conducted an inquiry into Welsh health and social care.

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 grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.