Age UK, in an interesting blog by Stephen Lowe entitled “Changing the Social Care Landscape”, has recently commented on the potential tension between the Dilnot Commission Report and the Law Commission Review of Adult Social Care Law. Both are due to report later this year.
I agree completely that the current social care system, as it applies to most older people, is a disaster. I am not as confident as Stephen Lowe at Age UK seems to be that the two Commissions looking into adult social care will reach an harmonious conclusion. I believe Andrew Dilnot will come up with some fairly radical proposals for the funding of care because as an economist he will clearly see that anything less will mean that the cost of care funding by the state will be unsustainable. Sadly I feel the Law Commission Review is far less likely to simplify the evermore complicated web of human rights and age discrimination legislation. The application of tighter and tighter regulation, however well intended, will not solve the problem of failing systems.
Stephen Lowe rightly says that the fundamental difficulty is to do with trust and I agree with that completely. So long as the quality of health and social service care for older people remains as bad as it is, there can be no straightforward solution to the issues. What the Department of Health needs to do is help build a new vision of health care for the elderly. I have already expanded on this in my submission to the Dilnot Commission which is included in my blog dated 6th February 2011. I believe that the NHS and Social Services need to step back from providing anything other than acute care for older people but the price of this is that the majority of older people will need to fully fund their own care in the future