Japan’s social care model has lessons for England, Hancock admits

The Japanese model of social care funding could have some relevance for England, health minister Matt Hancock has admitted in an enquiry into social care funding taking place on the day of the Four Seasons collapse.

In Japan, a Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) system provides universal, comprehensive care to people over the age of 65 and those with a disability aged between 40 and 65. The system is partly funded by a national insurance fund that all over 40s pay into and partly out of general and local taxation.  

According to a 2018 report by the Nuffield Trust on the Japanese system, transparency, fairness and consistency has secured a lot of public support.

In the enquiry, held by parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee, Hancock said that the forthcoming spending review would determine the level of funding for social care. He told the committee that he disagreed with the idea of removing local government funding from the social care sector, and he said that proposals such as a cap on costs or social insurance would not completely address injustices such as loss of assets and different needs among social care users.

Mr Hancock emphasised that the Government’s Social Care Green Paper would generate a debate and hopefully lead to a cross-party consensus on a sustainable funding model for social care. 

Hancock blamed the delay in the social care Green Paper on Brexit and refused to be drawn on whether the delay was due to a lack of Cabinet support for the mooted plans.

Hancock also disputed criticism that people’s social care needs were not being met.

 The debate also looked at public expectations and the social care workforce, including EU nationals.

  • Older persons’ charity, Independent Age has also warned about the limitations of a Government cap on the cost of care.

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