Social care funding debate ‘intergenerationally unfair’

Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, has spoken of the current failure of the Government to adequately address the social care funding crisis. He urges the Government to reconsider plans to better fund social care in light of the cuts to local authority budgets. He suggests that some policies pledged by the Government should be revisited to provide more support to the younger people of today who will find themselves in need of social care in later life.

His comment in relation to ‘intergenerational unfairness’ pointed to the additional benefits that today’s elderly receive regardless of income as being one way in which funding for social care could be better met.

One of the policies in particular that Simon suggests looking at is the ‘2020 triple lock’ which would result in the increase of the state pension annually by a minimum of 2.5%. Simon Stevens suggests that policies such as these should be reviewed to better meet the increasingly unmet demands of users of social care.

He spoke in particular about the crippling effect of the failure to address the increasing social care deficit. In particular in relation to support that local authorities used to be able to offer which enabled individuals to remain in their homes safely.

Stevens suggested that the Government should fight on many avenues to secure the additional funding that is needed within social care. Whilst the increase to the NHS budget was welcomed (£3.8bn in 2016-17), the failure to provide additional funding for domiciliary care in particular was having the adverse effect of putting additional strains on the NHS – most notably through the blocking of beds, for example by those patients that did not have the support needed to limit the numbers of avoidable visits to the hospital.

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