Fixing Social Care, New funding, new methods, new partnerships

THE NEED TO RE-THINK

A more rational and affordable care system will involve disrupting the market. But the result of that disruption, through methods such as insurance and government cost sharing, or pension-fund financing of care home provision, will be greater supply, greater sustainability and greater fairness.

Public  sector  reforms  are  part  of  this:  for  example  (as  mentioned),  NHS-funded  Continuing  Care  creates  perverse  incentives  and  unfairness. Funding  rules,  too,  produce other perverse incentives. If you go into a care home and your spouse is no longer with you, your residence is counted under means testing rules; but if care is delivered at your residence, it is not. Or again, (in another rule introduced by the Cameron government) the home is not included in means testing for care at home, while  it  is  if  care  is  to  be provided  in  a  care  home.  These  examples  (and  others)  distort local authorities’ decision making.

The debate on social care has centred on how much more of it we can afford, either as individuals or as taxpayers. Sadly, that debate is pointless when the money we spend goes into a system that is largely dysfunctional. But with fresh thinking, it is possible to improve the quality of social care provision, to find ways of making it more affordable, and to rebalance service delivery more rationally between care at home and care in a care home.

In conclusion, an arbitrary boost to care budgets, and minor changes to the existing system will do little good and will not help long term sustainability. What we need are new partnerships in new markets that embrace fundamental change across the board, improved transparency and better integrated health and social care.

Fixing Social Care, New funding, new methods, new partnerships

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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