Headlines: July 15th, 2009

Directors of adult social services have welcomed the Government’s Green Paper on shaping the future care and support of older people and now want it to stimulate a national debate on new ways to fund care services. The Association which represents those responsible for providing or buying services for elderly people and adults with disabilities said the document was “the beginning of an essential and timely debate which will help build care arrangements fit for the twenty first century.”

The Health Secretary Andy Burnham has proposed a new National Care Service to help cope with Britain’s aging population. He ruled out a service entirely funded by the state but set options to pay for improved access to care. They are for an element of central funding or a voluntary insurance scheme that could cost people between 20,000 and 25,000 pounds each or a state insurance fund costing between 17 and 20,000 pounds each.

The President of ADASS, Jenny Owen, welcomed the Green Paper’s emphasis on the principles of fairness, simplicity and affordability and said the present system had been designed 60 years ago for a different society, with different expectations of longevity and of what it meant to be old, poor, disabled, or vulnerable.

“It was a society still firmly in the grip of Poor Law values,” she said and added: “It now has to be replaced with one which puts citizens at the centre of its focus, where basic elements of social care are available to all as an entitlement according to need and circumstances, carefully integrated with health, housing, community and other services, making sure that people are cared for and protected in a much fairer, quality-driven way than is currently the case.”

Ms Owen said Social Services Directors were committed to stimulating the debate about how much individuals should contribute to their social care.