Make social care free to save NHS

Home care services Everycare UKThe government should make social care free to everyone who needs it to take pressure off the NHS, former Labour and Tory health ministers have said.

Conservative, Lord David Prior and Labour’s Lord Ara Darzi also called for a “radical streamlining” of NHS organisations to roll back the damaging reforms implemented by former health secretary Andrew Lansley.

Abolishing means testing of social care would end the scandal of people with significant care needs facing bills in the hundreds of thousands of pounds for care, they said.

Cuts to social care funding under the Conservatives have seen the numbers of people receiving state-funded care falling five per cent a year. But it is costing the NHS £3bn a year to care for people in hospital who are fit enough to be sent home but haven’t got sufficient support, and free services for people with “critical” or “substantial” needs would help.

Elderly people in residential accommodation would still be expected to pay their own housing costs if they can afford to, as at present.

The report sets out how the NHS and social care system could deliver productivity savings which they claim, combined with the extra funding, would release resources to meet the rising needs of an ageing population and enable it to embrace medical and technical advances.

For more on this report read the full story at the Independent website.