Friday, April 28, 2006
A new report out today has claimed the Government will need to overhaul its financing of long-term health care if demand from the UK's ageing population is to be met. The study by social policy research and development charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation argues the current funding system is "inequitable and incoherent" and will have to undergo major reforms to deal with rising numbers of people requiring long-term care. However, five specific changes could be made immediately to help fund long-term care "more fairly, adequately and coherently", the report said.
The reforms, proposed by a panel of care experts and decision-makers brought together by the charity, included: creating a voluntary scheme allowing homeowners to access capital tied up in their property to pay for home-based care; doubling the capital threshold for those in care homes after selling their properties; and doubling the personal expenses allowance for people supported by local authorities in care homes.
Panel members also suggested charging nursing home residents for non-care costs and paying for other improvements with the proceeds; and reviewing the Attendance Allowance, a tax-free benefit for disabled people over 65 who need help with personal care. Former Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and chair of the group advising the charity on long-term care funding, Sir Christopher Kelly, said: "With its ageing population, the UK urgently needs a clear, effective and fairer system for financing long-term care.