Saturday, 29 August 2009

The big debate

We are being encouraged to join the debate on the future of long term care in England.
I’ve been doing some reading on this and it don’t make good reading even if you don’t try to read between what the Green Paper says and what the government means. Help the Aged have tried to help in the latest issue of their Mag ACTIVATE.
The main issues that we are being asked to comment on are the five options for paying for care.
1) Pay for care yourself. Everyone pays for their own care with no state support
2) Partnership. The state pays a part of everyone’s care, depending on how well-off they are.
3) Insurance. The state pays a part of everyone’s care; people can take out insurance to cover the rest. But if people need to go into a care home they still have to pay accommodation costs.
4) Comprehensive. Everyone pays a lump sum of around £20,000, either upfront, in instalments or from your estate after death. This pays for all care except accommodation.
5) Tax-funded All care provided free but paid for by an increase in general taxation.
I wonder if the government are serious on this or is it just another cynical ply on their behalf to delay a decision in the way they have with other issues affecting older people. There is no way that a decision on this is likely to be made until after the next election but it could be part of the general complaints we wrinkles’ have against this government and it’s chief architect Gordon Brown. If you look at the options it would suggest that depending on your age, health and social background would govern the way you would respond. First three options might apply more strongly to younger people but 5) is likely to be the choice of people like me nearing the time they will need the service.
Number 4) is worth further examination and shows me just how out of touch our ministers are with older folk these days. Who is likely to be able to cough up twenty grand and then have to pay for accommodation? What it means is the government intend to continue with their policy of stripping people in care of their assets.
This is a rather over simplified analysis because the private sector will be heavily involved in help to provide services to cover costs and I’m sure many pension funds in future will carry options for covering this. In the meantime I’m voting for number 5)
You can have your say by contacting Help the Aged at or go to
Finally, why have we taken almost twelve years to reach this point when a free service as been available in Scotland for almost ten?
Reading some of the comments left on the web site are tear jerking and I hope Gordon whose comments responses are some of the worst is listening.
Personal Care has got to be free.
I was surprised at the number who said things like I voted Labour all my life but never again.
Gordon! it’s time to stop trying to save the world by prosecuting expensive wars and spending billions on overseas aid and start putting our own house in order back at home.

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