Charity wants clear policies on elderly

11 May 00
The government should stop 'tinkering' with the funding of long-term care for the elderly and implement fundamental reforms that clearly state what levels of care pensioners can expect from public bodies, an influential charity said in a report this week.

12 May 2000

The government is considering how long-term care will be funded following a Royal Commission report in March last year, which called for free care for the elderly and the disabled.

Health policy analysts the King's Fund proposed a new 'compact' that would eradicate the anomalies and confusion that surrounds the system.

Rabbi Julia Neuberger, the Fund's chief executive, said ministers should look beyond this debate, and that the government had an opportunity to create a welfare system that responded to the real needs of older people. She said: 'That will require fundamental reforms of how long-term care is funded, rather than tinkering with the rules of the system.'

She added: 'We need to decide to what degree support will be provided through taxation, and to what extent individuals will need to fund it themselves – either as payments for state services or through the open market.'

Age Concern England welcomed the King's Fund report and urged the government to accept the Royal Commission's key recommendations.

The commission highlighted variable access to services and criticised the system's complexity. At the moment, people with assets above £16,000 get no public help with residential or nursing home fees. Those with assets of between £10,000 to £16,000 receive help on a sliding scale, while elderly people with less than £10,000 in assets receive free care.


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