Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) will today (20 March) launch a new campaign for a tax-funded, National Care Service. The Fair Care Campaign follows numerous reports by a range of governmental and charitable organisations in the last few months that have all highlighted the failures of the existing social care system, and comes ahead of the government’s White Paper, expected later this year, on how social and long-term care should be funded.
The new NPC research entitled The Politics of Care, has analysed the issues facing existing and future generations and found:
– An unfair postcode lottery of charges for care at home
– Inadequate standards of care in both nursing and domiciliary care and a lack of robust and effective regulation
– Lack of adequate training and qualifications amongst care staff, linked to poor terms and conditions
– Little support for family carers, leading to inadvertent neglect
– A false separation between NHS funded medical care and means-tested social care, which has removed thousands of frail elderly people from receiving free care
In financial terms the NPC has calculated that an additional £10bn would be needed in order to support a National Care Service. This additional revenue could be funded through a combination of savings from other areas of care expenditure, re-prioritising existing government expenditure and/or increasing taxation. If all the money were to be raised through taxation alone, someone earning £25,000 a year would be expected to pay an extra 75p a day. In return, A National Care Service would provide:
– Free domiciliary and nursing care
– Access to services to a wider group of people, including those with low to moderate needs who are currently excluded
– Improved terms and conditions for care staff
– A programme of modernisation of residential homes
– Improved regulation and monitoring of care services
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “Successive governments have ducked the issue about how we can improve the care of Britain’s most vulnerable pensioners. The endless stories in the media often reveal how grim life in a care home can be and how care in your own home is sometimes shockingly inadequate. Everyone agrees that the current system is bust, but no-one is willing to put forward the only real way of improving the situation. A National Care Service would end all these problems.”
“We would end the unfair means-test and postcode lottery of charges, we could stop people from having to sell their homes in order to pay for care, we could widen access to services to all in need and we could professionalise the care service with better training and conditions, but most importantly we would establish the principle that as a society we have a responsibility – just like with the NHS, education and the armed forces – of all paying in so that those who need help can draw out. A National Care Service will mean seamless integration between hospital treatment and the community, and will benefit all of us, by giving us the confidence that our loved ones will be cared for properly when they need it.”
The campaign will be launched today (20 March) in the House of Commons, with a rally at 1pm, Committee Room 14. Speakers will include Allison Roche (Unison) who are backing the campaign, along with Baroness Sally Greengross (Equality and Human Rights Commission) talking about the EHRC’s recent report into home care and Margaret Hodge MP (Public Accounts Committee) talking about the failure of Southern Cross care homes.
For more information contact Neil Duncan-Jordan on 07432-575251.
A copy of the NPC’s The Politics of Care can be downloaded at http://npcuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/The-Politics-of-Care.pdf.