Will Reform of Social Care Ever Take Place?

In 1997 the then Prime Minister of the UK indicated that he “did not want children to be brought up in a country where the only way pensioners can get long term care is by selling their home.” Here we are 24 years later and we are no further forward on this subject.

Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech  only indicated that reforms will be “brought forward” but no time scale. This is something the current Prime Minister promised he would fix when elected in December 2019. It is noted the health service in England will get more funding to encourage innovation, using technology, in the health care sector. Scotland will receive extra money from this but, it is up to the Scottish Parliament how to spend this extra money and it may not go on Scottish health services.

Currently social care is a local council remit not health service. It is not ring fenced and councils can slash social care budgets. The alternative is for Council Tax to go up or, in Scotland’s case, Scottish Income Tax levels to be increased along with Council Tax.

It is believed that a hospital bed costs £3,500 per week while a bed in a social care home is around £950 per week. This tends to be paid by family by selling family homes to make up a shortfall in local funding.

The Scottish Government won’t make changes as it doesn’t have the money and wants changes at UK level so that it gets the extra funding. It’s already struggling to fund free personal care for the elderly and I suspect raiding other budgets to do so.

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