Still no money for those in need of long-term care

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The Independent Online

Lord Turner's Pension Commission report has failed pensioners with long-term care needs, according to members of the previous inquiry into the problems faced by the elderly and their families.

Members of the Royal Commission on Long-Term Care, as well as several of the UK's most prominent charities for the elderly, have criticised the Turner Report for failing to even consider the future funding of long-term personal and nursing care in the UK.

Dame June Clark, a member of the Royal Commission, which reported to the Government in 1999, said: "There was an opportunity here to reopen the debate that this Government has adamantly refused to open - it's certainly a pity they chose not to."

Lord Sutherland of Hounwood, who was chairman of the Royal Commission, added that Lord Turner should be wary that his report does not get "binned" in the same way his report into long-term care was six years ago.

One in four UK citizens end up in need of care in their old age, many of whom are unable to cope with the enormous cost. Although the state offers a handful of benefits for those going into care, many people are wrongly advised about whether they qualify. Others are forced to move to cheaper care homes to receive state aid.

However, while the Commission report called on the Government to make personal care free for all, while such care is free in Scotland, state help remains subject to complex means-testing in England and Wales.

Lord Turner said last year that that he believed the financing of long-term care was beyond the remit of the Pension Commission. However, campaigners for the elderly say the issue is inextricably linked with pensions reform.

Dr Clive Bowman, chairman of the Continuing Care Conference, a coalition of commercial, charitable and public service organisations which lobbies for better care for the elderly, said: "The Government cannot bury its head in the sand. Paying for long-term care must form part of the national debate following Lord Turner's report. The funding of long-term care comes within the same domain as pensions."

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