Hospital wards for the elderly would close under Labour's social care plans
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 23 February 2012
Hospital wards for the elderly would be closed to release funds for old people to be cared for in their own homes under plans to tackle the looming social care crisis being drawn up by Labour.
The Opposition believes the transfer of resources would improve services for old people and their quality of life – and make big savings at a time when the deficit must be brought under control.
Liz Kendall, Labour’s spokeswoman on social care, will outline the party’s initial thinking today (thurs) in a speech warning that difficult decisions will have to be made under a switch to a community-based system based on prevention and early intervention.
She will say that the NHS now spends £500,000 every day on delayed discharges from hospitals. Projects run by Labour councils show that every £1 spent on “partnership” community care services led to an additional saving of £1.20 on emergency beds in hospitals.
Ms Kendall will tell the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank: “Fewer older people are getting the care they need. More are ending up having to go into hospital, or getting stuck in hospital, or more expensive residential care when they don’t need to. And families face ever-increasing charges – for home care, residential care, day care and meals on wheels – which vary hugely across the country.”
She will argue that £1bn has been cut from local authority budgets for old people’s social care since the Coalition came to power in 2010, with eight out of 10 councils providing care only for those with substantial or critical needs.Ms Kendall will say “This growing care crisis is a huge but all too often hidden problem for families on middle as well as low incomes.”
Labour has identified child care and social care as the two main planks of a new strategy on the welfare state to be outlined at the next election.
Ms Kendall has just begun talks with Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers to see if a cross-party consensus can be reached on Andrew Dilnot’s Commission on Funding Care and Support last year. It proposed that an individual’s lifetime contributions towards social care costs be capped at £35,000 at a cost to the Government of £1.7bn and that the means-tested threshold, above which people are liable for their full care costs, should be increased from £23,250 to £100,000.
Today (thurs) Ms Kendall will describe the blueprint as “a major step forward" but say it will not solve the problem because it does not address the current costs of the system.
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...