If we fail to plan now by continuing to focus on the short-term, the next generation of older people will not have access to care that meets their needs – that is Future Care Capital’s (FCC) view, a national health and adult social care charity, in its latest report Securing the future: planning health and care for every generation. The charity has also commissioned a UK-wide poll through Ipsos MORI to gauge public opinion about preparing for and managing future care needs.
The verdict of FCC’s latest report is clear – there is no long-term plan for health and adult social care and the result is a ‘care deficit’. FCC believes that cross-party consensus in respect of Future Care Guarantees could underpin a new Care Covenant and National Plan for health and care as well as cement the support of the general public. This would offer greater security for everyone in our society.
The report also calls for a more concerted effort to be made in the short-term to adapt homes and the public realm so that they are ‘designed for age and mobility’, together with recognition of the economic contribution of carers to the overall economy and measures to improve carers’ ‘work-life-care’ balance.
FCC believes greater certainty is needed to assist individuals in planning for their future health and care needs. A key issue is the perceived general lack of understanding and consensus amongst the general public when it comes to the scope of state funded adult social care services and who should pay for them.
FCC worked with Ipsos MORI to explore public opinion in respect of this important policy area. They asked 16-75 year olds across the UK for their views about adult social care and planning for later life.
The majority of people say that people should be required to plan ahead – 67% agree that people should be required to plan and prepare financially for later life, whilst 49% agree that they should be required to plan and prepare financially for adult social care services they might require later in life.
Half or more of people surveyed support the following income tax rises in order to increase the amount of funding available for adult social care:
The UK public regard a focus on the ‘careforce’ as one of the most effective ways to reduce future pressure on the social care system – 76% say that Government increasing the number of health and social care workers would be effective and 71% think that providing greater support for unpaid carers would be effective.
The challenge of providing adult social care flows from our rapidly ageing population. It is important that the Government acts now before care services become increasingly rationed and the quality is impacted. This should be achieved through a cross-party consensus on future health and care provision. Money alone is not the answer, future provision will need to be shaped by a new strategic vision set out in a National Plan. The Government’s forthcoming green paper on adult social care affords it a prime opportunity to act now.
The current picture is one of missed opportunities. There is no defined plan for adult social care and how to address the pace of increased demand, nor to develop the breadth of services that will be needed. There is also no consensus on who should pay for what, and we need an informed debate about the increased funding that will be needed for a good later life. Over the next decade we will need to spend substantially more on health and social care – this should not be a crisis but the necessary price for the benefits of our longer lives. We need to move the discourse from one which is mostly about the costs of a larger older population, toward a public debate about the great opportunities of longer lives and how to realise them. It is time that our leaders give voice to this and we need all parts of society – localities, business and the voluntary sector – to recognise ageing as a major societal change with great potential benefits We need to move the discourse from one which is mostly about the costs of a larger older population, toward a public debate about the great opportunities of longer lives and how to realise them. It is time that our leaders give voice to this and we need all parts of society – localities, business and the voluntary sector – to recognise ageing as a major societal change with great potential benefits Lord Filkin CBE (Who contributed a chapter on intergenerational fairness and the economics of ageing)