Headlines: December 6th, 1999

The Health Secretary has given details of the new body being set up to safeguard standards of long term care in both the public and private sector.It is to accept the broad recommendations of a recent Royal Commission and set up a National Care Commission.

Its task will be to ensure consistent standards across the service, inspect, investigate complaints and report on these.

It will also set national standards and report each year on performance against those standards. Due to be up and running by Spring 2002, it will also ensure that consumers have clear and accurate information on services.

In the same announcement the Secretary of State also indicated that as part of the 2000 spending review process, the Government will be examining another issue raised by the Royal Commission – deciding what care should be free and what should have charges attached.

This will include talking to the financial services industry about designing long term care insurance products that are attractive to a wider audience.

The Department of Health has also published its Charter for Long Term Care, which is available on the Internet at: www.doh.gov.uk/longtermcare/index.htm