Government sets summer date for social care reform plans

The Government has announced that it will publish the long awaited Green Paper on care and support for older people by summer 2018.

It had originally been promised this autumn but the certainty of the plans has been generally welcomed by the industry.

The Government proposes to improve care and support for older people and tackle the challenge of an ageing population and recognises the need to reach a long-term, sustainable solution to providing the care older people need.

As part of this work the Government has begun a process of engagement to ensure a wide range of views and requirements are taken into account. Government will work with independent experts, stakeholders and users to shape the long-term reforms that will be proposed in the Green Paper.

Among those taking part in the consultations will be Mike Parish, chief executive of Care UK (left), Sir David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission and Sir Andrew Dilnot, former chair of the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support.

The First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Damian Green, said: “An ageing population needs a long-term solution for care, but building a sustainable support system will require some big decisions. In developing the Green Paper, it is right that we take the time needed to debate the many complex issues and listen to the perspectives of experts and care users, to build consensus around reforms which can succeed.”

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt said: “We are committed to reforming social care to ensure we can guarantee everyone dignity and security in old age. It is important we consider a wide variety of views on the future of the social care system – as our ageing population continues to grow it is absolutely vital that we get this right.”

But Joel Charles, deputy chief executive of Future Care Capital, said: “Whilst we welcome the Government’s commitment to publishing a social care Green Paper that will look at the long-term challenges faced by users and providers of care services alike, this is the second time the consultation has been moved. It could also indicate that the Chancellor’s forthcoming Budget will not address widespread concerns about social care services under increasing strain. It is within everybody’s best interests that the consultation begins as soon as possible.”

Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon said: “The Government’s announcement of yet another delay in consulting on social care funding will come as a frustrating blow to those who had been hoping the Chancellor would kick-start the public debate in next week’s Budget.

“While the Government will be consulting privately with a wide range of experts in this field, this debate has been ongoing for many years and the public also deserve to have their say on what’s fair regarding sharing costs between individuals and the state. Social care funding will be a key societal issue impacting millions of us long after Brexit is a footnote in the history books.”

Jeremy Hughes

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We’re reassured that the Government is setting out its commitment to address the social care crisis so that real action can begin.

“It’s vital people with dementia are put at the heart of this consultation – they are the majority of the people needing social care. The election showed that the public are hungry for social care reform, but with the paper not expected until summer, they will have had another year of waiting. If there has been no true progress by then we, and people with dementia, will be asking big questions of the Government.”

Once the Green Paper is published in summer 2018, it will be subject to a full public consultation.

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