The government is to announce further details of its plans to reform the system of long-term care for the elderly in England.
The Coalition’s “vision” for adult social care will be published by care services minister Paul Burstow, stating that local councils should provide personal care budgets for all those who are eligible by April 2013. This target is in line with the coalition agreement.
The statement will also emphasise the importance of local activity in supporting older people’s continuing independence, as set out in David Cameron’s Big Society vision.
A commission to probe the future funding of social care has already been set up, while the Department of Health is launching a consultation ahead of a detailed social care white paper, which will be published in 2011.
The Law Commission is also examining the system’s legal framework.
The reform of adult social care is one of the thorniest issues facing the government. The previous Labour government looked at several options before the general election, but an attempt at cross-party talks with the Conservatives and the Lib Dems to find a common way forward collapsed amid bitter recriminations.
The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) said the current system was in “crisis” and urged the government to act to ensure that the most vulnerable in society were properly looked after.
NPC general secretary Dot Gibson said:”Social care budgets are at least £4bn short to keep pace with inflation and social care continues to be the Cinderella service of the welfare state – under-funded and overlooked.”
“Now it’s time we ended the era of means-testing, complexity and poor quality services. The best way to do this would be through the creation of a national care service that is free at the point of delivery and paid for through general taxation.”
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