/ Health

The government’s indecision isn’t helping people pay for care

Older person's hands being held

One of the hardest decisions we can face is how to pay for long-term care. It causes heartache and financial worry. So a year on from the Dilnot Commissions’ proposals, are we any further along?

Health secretary Andrew Lansley today outlined the government’s plans to deal with social care in a statement to the House of Commons.

Now the government has said that it supports some of the principles of the Dilnot Commission – the independent body tasked by the government with reviewing the funding system for care and support in England – such as a cap on the total amount any one individual would have to pay for their care over their lifetime. But it hasn’t confirmed what this cap should be.

Government delays care decision

We were disappointed to hear that the government won’t commit to how the future system will be funded until the next spending review, despite publishing a long-awaited white paper on care and support today.

Critics have argued that this is a missed opportunity to define the shape of future care, and that the lack of clarity on funding is leading to a crisis in care. In a guest post for Which? Conversation, Andrew Dilnot himself said:

‘We need a new system in which people aren’t fearful and are able to plan and prepare for meeting the cost of care.’

Unacceptable levels of care

Commenter Mark didn’t think the government should foot the bill for social care if people had assets that enabled them to pay the bills themselves. But he was worried about the scale of the sums required:

‘What are savings for if not for a rainy day. The problem is that dealing with social care costs isn’t just a rainy day; it’s a force five hurricane.’

And David shared his concerns over paying for his wife’s Alzheimer’s care:

‘Within six months, her savings will have all but disappeared, and the family will be faced with a shortfall of £700 a week. If, as I expect we cannot do so, our home will have to be sold, and I shall move into rented accommodation. But then half the proceeds will be credited to my wife, and the council will make no contribution for a further two or three years. Catch 22?’

Our own research into care in people’s own homes earlier this year, found shocking examples of poor care, with people’s safety compromised in some cases.

This is not the first government that has failed to adequately grasp the nettle that is the funding of long-term care: the worry is that the suffering is being felt by those who are not always able to complain.

Were you disheartened by the government’s response today? Were you expecting a concrete plan of action – what will you do to deal with the cost of care until the government makes up its mind?


Another Tory disaster – to charge those that are careful very heavily for a service GIVEN FREE to those who are poor or feckless. Why should I bother to save at all if the money and house will be stolen from me for a third rate service supplied by fourth rate “care” companies only interested in profit. I hope to live long enough to vote this “government” OUT.

So Richard
Firstly your against Socialist principles and then secondly your against Capitalism.Have you got any positive, constructive ideas which, we in the business can use we would welcome any new viewpoints on this massive problem.

I do trust your total condemnation of approx. 400000 (four hudred thousand ) peoples work work is founded on some personal experiance of Care Homes (approx. 25000 at the last count..Bearing in mind we are not Charities or Public Sector Institutions we have to make a Profit and subsequently pay the rates and taxes to fund the Public Sector .If you want to compare value for money please refer to the Mid Staffs Hospital saga where it costs the Public and us five times what Local Authorioties allow people to spend with us .

Gerald says:
3 October 2013

Dear Richard,
I have taken the trouble to check out who actually introduced means testing for NHS Nursing Care and I have discovered that it was introduced during the last Labour Goverment and the criteriors to aloow them to make it means tested were change by thePCTs working together with the County Council Social Services .Please check out other WHICH conversations for info on actual cases of people trying fight this appalling traversty of justice, maybe you could help.

This is emanating from many London LAs maladministrating social services on call centres copying set up & trying to back up via the putting online of our Medical Records by lay persons on corporate remits showing only one condition & not regardng it could change be progressive with complications eg” stroke .

This GPs rarely cross reference . They have not brought up amnomalies with this allowing LAs to rotate yearly those with multi conditions who live on boundaries. They gave over their right to hold purse strings when allowing themselves to be contracted in & directed. Time managed. Surely that is why A&E s are full of the chronic becoming acute & without antibiotics we are back to the dark ages.

Who works for who as even the MPs do not sort this out allowing their unelected PAs free reign .

Nothing should happen until a more ethical system is restructured not just change its name. Perhaps this is why the hippocratic oath is no longer taken ??!!

Gerald says:
18 February 2014

Dear Julie,
I was told by a fairly influencal GP that he believed in refering Elderley people to the Hospital over refering them to Care Homes as it placed the person in a controlled environment where all their physical needs would be attended without him having any more to do with them, and by the way I understand he still received his fee at the same time.Very little thought was given to the advantages and disadvantages or the preferences of the patient and no thought whatsover was given to the massive difference of cost to the tax payer.