Additional funding for adult social care should be secured through cross-party consensus and a review of benefits available to those receiving a pension, according to NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens.
What are the proposed measures?
Stating that the current social care model was chronically underfunded and would be exacerbated further by an ageing population, Stevens urged politicians across the spectrum to act swiftly with bold new methods, in order to avert a crisis.
A review of the Prime Minister’s promised ‘triple lock’ on pensions was put forward, with the initiative – which guarantees an increase in pension funding of at least 2.5% annually – branded disproportionately generous to the older generation and unfit to meet social care needs.
Stevens also mooted the possibility of reviewing the Government’s policy of issuing benefits (such as free TV licenses, prescriptions and bus passes) regardless of income levels.
Can this help save care provision?
Heidi Alexander, Labour’s shadow health secretary, backed the proposals, stating: “Simon Stevens’s comments are further evidence that the Government’s plans for funding social care are completely inadequate… Hundreds of thousands of elderly people [are] without the care and support they need to live independently and with dignity.”
Social care is currently funded by local councils, which have witnessed budget cuts of 40% since 2011. This has led to elderly people being unable to access mobility resources, and carers’ funding being severely limited.
Stevens also argues that care at home is a crucial component of the future of social care, helping to free up hospital service whilst helping service users to remain independent and active.
Fiona Lowry, our CEO, commented: “We hope that an innovative discussion between healthcare professionals and politicians will help develop a social care package that supports vulnerable elderly people. Our own extensive research on care in the home agrees with Mr Stevens’ findings: live-in care not only relieves an overworked NHS by avoiding hospital admissions, but also helps your loved ones to maintain better health, happiness and quality of life in their own homes.”