The question of how to pay for care in the UK has generated substantial political and media interest over the past two decades. There have been two independent commissions, five White and Green Papers, three consultations and many reports from non-government organisations, and now we await yet another Green Paper in the summer of 2018.
The Funding Gap
On 11th October 2017, the Local Government Association (LGA) published an informative report: Adult Social Care Funding: State of the Nation.
The report looks first at local government funding overall, noting that councils will have managed reductions to their core funding from central government totalling £16 billion between 2010 and 2020. The paper also looks at both the immediate needs in social care funding today, and in the longer term. It states that local government as a whole faces a funding gap for social care of £5.8 billion by 2020.
Later in November 2017, the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund highlighted a £2.5bn funding gap for social care by 2019 and called for an extra £4bn for the NHS to fill the funding gap to stop patient care deteriorating this year. They also made the case to reverse planned cuts to public health budgets.
Increasing pressure on Local Authorities and the NHS
The Autumn Budget came shortly afterwards which once again failed to address the long term issues of health and social care funding in the UK, and instead focused on a short-term solution of injecting emergency cash into the system…It pledged an additional £2.8bn to the NHS in England for day-to-day services (£350m immediately for winter 2017, £1.6bn for 2018-19 and the rest in 2019-20). Based on the Nuffield Trust and King’s Fund estimates, these figures only amount to around half of the £4bn of spending pressures facing the services in 2018.
With ongoing financial pressure on local authorities to fund increasing demand for social care, as well as increasing pressure on the NHS to meet health needs of our ageing population, is there any other option than to reduce the public offer?
So what’s the solution?
The level of immediate and ongoing funding that would be required to fix the adult social care crisis seems near enough an impossible eventuality, which means we need an alternative solution from the forthcoming Green Paper that goes beyond short-sightedness, and looks to create a sustainable, long-term and transparent strategy that integrates social care, health care, and housing. Regardless of the solution, funding and availability of services continue to struggle to keep up with increasing demand, and consumers are now more than ever in real need of professional advice around preparing for and paying for care, as more and more will be required to fund it themselves. What is vitally important to acknowledge is that the people in need of care now and their families shouldn’t put off planning for the continued funding of their care fees.
Need for advice
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