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Health Secretary calls for social care reform

30 October 2009

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The health secretary has warned that the government must tackle issues surrounding social care or the system could face an increasingly “bleak future”.

Andy Burnham (pictured) said that people might suffer a loss of dignity in retirement if politicians do not unite to reform social care.

Social care is facing pressure from an ageing population and advances in medical science and Mr Burnham has said that these issues must be addressed to rectify the problem.

The health secretary said politicians had “flinched from this for too long” and said he wanted to create “unstoppable momentum” for legislation on social care in the next Parliament.

Opening a Commons debate, Mr Burnham said: “The reason why I say we have to take this moment is because if we don’t, we face a bleak future in this country where inadequate budgets are being stretched ever-more thinly around an ageing population and in the process providing less and less dignity and quality of life in retirement.

“It’s not a very encouraging prospect, in fact it’s a very depressing prospect. And that’s why we have got to act.”

The government has put forward a Green Paper proposing the creation of a National Care Service, which Mr Burnham described as the “right and radical” answer to the problems.

Arguing that now was a “Beveridge moment”, the health secretary said the plans would spread costs and risks more fairly, providing greater peace of mind for everybody.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Health Secretary Andy Burnham