Book News: July 18th, 2005

This report, resulting from the Inquiry by the King’s Fund, found major shortcomings in the current care system that disadvantage older people and their carers.There is restricted access to care and practical support, limited choice and control over care services, a risk from untrained and unqualified staff and hardship caused by inadequate funding and controversy about who pays for long-term care.The report views care services as part of a wider health, housing and social care system. Local authorities with social care responsibilities are expected to work closely with NHS primary care trusts and housing bodies to commission a wide range of care services, including intermediate care and extra care housing. Care services operate within distinctive local care markets, where individuals and public bodies buy goods and services from the private, voluntary and statutory organisations that provide them. Local authorities are expected to develop and manage these care markets, with a view to improving value for money and increasing choice through competition.

The report calls for investment in market development to strengthen consumer power, support growth and diversity in the market and create incentives to provide high-quality services. It also urges reform of social policies to ensure equality of opportunity for older people and a culture that focuses on their rights as well as their needs.

The report is available at: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/pdf/businessofcaring.pdf