The long awaited green paper on the future of social care was finally released on the 14th July 2009 and received less then enthusiastic reception from many organisations of Disabled People. Many commentators felt the Green Paper focussed too heavily on the funding of long term support for older people and ignored the needs of younger Disabled People.
The Green Paper sets out the government’s vision for a ‘National Care Service’.
The National Care Service will create a level playing field and end the postcode lottery of care services. Everyone in England will be guaranteed:
• Prevention services – the right support to stay independent and well for as long as possible and to delay your support needs increasing.
• National assessment – Your support needs will be assessed and paid for in the same way across the country.
• Joined-up services – all the services will work together smoothly.
• Information and advice – the system will be easy to understand and navigate.
• Personalised care and support – services will be based on personal circumstances and need.
• Fair funding – money will be spent wisely and everyone will get some help meeting the high cost of support needs.
All very worthy aims however there is less detail on how they can achieve these aims.
Although the government appears to now acknowledge that funding for long term support is in crisis, and that there are inequalities in different areas in England, over criteria and means testing, the government has not brought forward one particular strategy to combat this.
When it comes to the thorny issue of funding for older people’s support, there seems to be 3 possible options which have been proposed:
1) A partnership model
The state would pay for a proportion of the care costs of any individual – for example, a quarter or a third – ensuring that everyone gets some support free. People would have to pay towards the rest of the cost dependent on means.
2) An insurance model
The state would pay for a proportion of the care costs of any individual – for example, a quarter or a third – ensuring that everyone gets some support free, just as in the Partnership model. In addition people could choose to pay into a private insurance or state insurance scheme that would cover the rest of the costs. This could be paid in instalments, as a lump sum on retirement or after death if preferred.
3) A comprehensive model
Everyone over retirement age would be required to pay into an insurance scheme depending on means and care would all be free once this requirement is met. The insurance could be paid during their working life, during their retirement or after they died.
There now follows a consultation period that lasts until the 13th November 2009 which is called rather brashly ‘The Big Care Debate’. There are no ‘official’ Government consultation events being held in Southampton however SCIL is considering holding a consultation event sometime in the Autumn.
More info is at http://www.careandsupport.direct.gov.uk/
Or you can order a copy to be mailed to you by phoning 0300 123 1002 or minicom number is 0300 123 1003
Quote the reference, 295936 ‘Shaping the Future of Care Together’ for the full Green Paper and, for the shorter version, 295936/ER ‘Shaping the Future of Care Together – Easy Read.’