The size of the UK’s structural deficit means that the government can't commit to funding a new long-term elderly care system. However, they have proposed other measures.
The government's White Paper and progress report has outlined their long term plans for a social care reform, with better access to independent advice being the main theme.
New methods will see local authorities roles changing from purchasing and providing care to "empowering people to take control of their own care needs".
As part of the restructure, the government will develop a universal health, care and support website that will work as a one-stop shop for information. Users of the site will be able to browse a national directory of care providers – all of which will be rated.
An expert group involving the government, financial services sector, local authorities and the care sector will be set up in order to support the initiative. In addition to this, the government plans to allocate £32.5 million for local authorities to provide localised care advice websites.
Further funding proposed:
£300 million investment in joint funding between the NHS and social care
£7.2 billion towards adult care and support over this review period
£200 million investment over five years to build specialised accommodation for older and disabled people
double the care apprenticeships to 100,000 by 2017.
The need for better legislation has been put forward with the aim to introduce legal documents such as a 'code of conduct' and 'minimum trading standards' for care workers. Other legislation will be implemented to entitle people to a personal budget.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable findings from the document is the suggested national minimum eligibility threshold, which will help to abolish the current ‘postcode lottery’. There are also plans to develop a universal deferred payment scheme, to stop pensioners from having to sell valuable assets, such as their homes, to fund care costs.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that the reforms would deliver a “re-engineered care and support system" that shifts towards prevention and early intervention.
This article is based around a publication by the Financial Adviser on July 18 2012.