William Eichler 15 June 2018

Make social care ‘free at the point of need’, former health minister says

Make social care ‘free at the point of need’, former health minister says image

Social care should be ‘free at the point of need’ like the NHS, a bold new report into the health and care system recommends.

The progressive think tank IPPR has published a study by Lord Darzi and Lord Prior which sets out a 10-point plan for improving struggling health and care services.

The fourth point in the ‘investment and reform plan’ proposes extending the NHS’s ‘need, not ability to pay’ principle to social care and fully funding the service as part of ‘new social contract’ between the citizen and the state.

This would be funded through national insurance increases.

‘We recommend embracing a bold reform and funding plan for social care by moving to universal, free-at-the-point-of-need personal and nursing care for adults in England,’ the report reads.

‘This would operate on similar terms to the Scottish system…meaning that all domiciliary care would be free at the point of need, while the government would provide a “fair price” for residential care.’

The report argues the additional costs of moving to a social care system which is free at the point of use is ‘less than is commonly assumed.’

Maintaining the current system would require around an additional £11bn per year by 2030 and the additional cost of the system proposed by the Conservative party in the 2017 general election would be a further £5.6bn by 2030.

The incremental cost of moving to free personal and nursing care would be £2bn by 2030 on top of that, the report says.

The majority of the extra funds would come from a 1% increase on employers’, employees’ and self-employeed rates of national insurance, as well as from introducing National Insurance Contributions charged on the employment income of pensioners.

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