21 August, 2019
The Alzheimer's society have recently published analysis which states that people living with dementia have spent almost £15bn of their own money on social care since the Government reforms were first proposed in March 2017. The Government committed to publish a Green Paper on social care in the March 2017 budget however, this has been met by several lengthy delays.
A Social Care Green Paper was initially due to be published in the summer of 2017 but the latest Government guidance has explained that it will be published "at the earliest opportunity". This non-committal approach has left many with growing concerns over the future of the social care reforms in particular the reforms to social care funding.
A decision was made in July 2015 to defer the introduction of a cap on lifetime social care charges and a more generous means-test that had been proposed by the Dilnot commission.
In addition to these postponed suggestions, there have been several others on how social care funding may work in future. These have included, but are not limited to, an insurance and contribution model; a Care ISA; and tax-free withdrawals from pension pots.
With the number of people diagnosed with dementia in England reportedly rising by 33,000 since 2017, the social care reforms are becoming more urgently required.
In evidence of this, the Alzheimer's Society quoted in their analysis that "Since March 2017 people with dementia have spent more than 1 million unnecessary days stuck in hospital beds, despite being well enough to go home, at a cost to the NHS of over £340 million".
The current situation, together with the proposed amendments to the social care system, require timely clarification and direction in order to safeguard those in need of social care now and in future.
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