MP claims new older people’s care funding system could cut hospital bed days

Funding for older people’s care would be modelled on the state pension system, but RCN questions the plan

Picture: Alamy

Funding social care for older people through a charge on taxpayers modelled on the state pension system could help reduce the number of hospital bed days, a report by a senior Conservative politician claims.

Damian Green, a former works and pensions secretary, proposes a flat-rate universal care entitlement for older people to cover the cost of care at home or in residential settings, and basic accommodation costs if residential care is needed.

Similar to the state pension, everyone would be eligible, but people could opt to pay extra to entitle them to more expensive care, such as a larger room, better food, more trips and additional entertainment.

Incentive for care homes

Mr Green’s report, issued by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, says equal funding, rather than the current NHS tariff system that the government pays depending on a patient’s condition and treatment, would give care homes an incentive to accept more patients.

RCN’s Dawne Garrett.
Picture: David Gee

If patients could be discharged sooner into social care, hospital bed days could be cut by 10%, leading to savings of £1 billion a year, he says in the report, called Fixing the Care Crisis.

Commenting on the report, RCN professional lead for older people and dementia care Dawne Garrett said: ‘If we work with the fundamental notion that we are trying to integrate health and social care, why would we have a completely different system for social care?’

Lack of workers

‘Why would we not integrate for example, the state pension with care and make it one resource?’

‘We would have a two-tier system with wealthy, fit people accessing high levels of care and poor, sick people failing to get the care they need, and that’s all predicated on a system where we have enough healthcare workers, which we don’t.

‘It misses the fundamental point that we don’t have enough health or social care workers. It makes no mention of workforce issues or indeed training or education.’

Find out more

Centre for Policy Studies (2019) Fixing the Care Crisis

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