Policy briefing: Social care challenges

07 Jun 2019

Fixing the Care Crisis report

By Damian Green MP
 
Damian Green, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Longevity, has written a social care report Fixing the Care Crisis.
Green's paper outlines: 
  • The Trouble with Social Care 
  • The Universal Care Entitlement 
  • The Care Supplement 
  • Reducing the Cost of Care and Improving its Quality
The key points are outlined below. 
 
1. Britain’s current social care arrangements are financially and politically unsustainable, as well as opaque and unfair.
2. Problems in social care have a huge knock-on effect on the health service. The success of the NHS funding plan depends on developing a better social care system.
3. This report proposes adopting a “state pension model” by introducing a new Universal Care Entitlement, which guarantees everyone a decent standard of care.
4. People could pay for more expensive care on top of the Universal Care Entitlement by purchasing a Care Supplement.
5. Funding would shift from councils to Whitehall, easing pressure on local budgets and encouraging the approval of more retirement housing and care homes.
6. These proposals would be fair, fully funded, and prevent both the “dementia lottery” and people being forced to sell their homes.
 
The paper argues that fixing the social care market would also have strong knock-on benefits for the National Health Service. At present, care homes often have to cross-subsidise those on local authority funding. 
This means homes are often unwilling to take on such patients. In particular they are unwilling to take those with chronic conditions who will need greater attention and incur higher costs. 
 
A properly funded Universal Care Entitlement would mean that hospitals could discharge into social care much faster. This, they argue, is because there should always be care beds available. In addition, the expansion of care home provision would help address the capacity problems in the sector. This could mean a shift away from local authorities  considering that older person housing was a cost which  would also mean that local authorities  would be encouraged to support retirement housing provision, improving the lives of older people and reducing costs.  
 
The report also proposes the creation of a new type of older person housing and require local authorities  to meet local need, in order to help drive this supply of housing up. Taken together, the author considers that their reform package addresses the most pressing issues regarding the social care system. They argue it would give everyone a fair level of support through national funding. In addition, they believe it would relieve local authorities  of a significant burden and give private providers security to expand provision of care. It would preserve and expand the incentive to make provision for your own future if you wanted more than the generic standard of care.
 
It would end the dementia lottery, keep people in their homes and be fair across and within generations. Many studies of the social care system have already been carried out, resulting in many varying estimates of the size of the problem and the costs involved. It is crucial that the numbers add up. They propose that, given the fate of so many previous proposals for reform, that there is a broad framework for the social care system that is popular, fair and capable of generating political consensus. They also belive that this paper sets out a framework that can form the basis of a sustainable system. 
 
These proposals, they believe, would need to be taken forward and fine-tuned by Government, in consultation with the relevant sectors. Taken as a whole, these proposals could put social care on a firm footing in this country. They could pave the way for better care for our older people – and eventually for all of us who need it.
 
Read the full report at