“Social Care White Paper” 1

I have already written  about the Dilnot Commission and their proposals for the future funding of social care.  (click on  Dilnot Commission  in the TAG CLOUD)

There is no question that social care in this country is in a crisis; report after report over the last two years points to that.   Equally, the weight of older people arriving at hospitals has dragged NHS care of the elderly well below acceptable levels.

That is why the publication of the social care white paper was so eagerly awaited and so quick to disappoint.   The Government had already announced in advance that there was to be no decision on the Dilnot report, but many people were still hoping against hope, that some decision would be forthcoming.   Predictably when the paper was finally released, there was universal condemnation of the continued delay.

However, I take a different view and understand the politicians prevaracation.   The voluntary sector has proved itself not ready for the required solution, by continuing to demand more Government money.   Encouraged by the voluntary sector position the media continues to beat the drum about older people having to sell their homes to pay for care.

Before we can move on with this debate, we have to explore the myth believed by many elderly people about the difference in virtue between renters and owners.  Renters are not feckless individuals who wasted their money on beer, cigarettes, Sky TV and holidays in Spain.  Nor are they all life-long unemployed people or work shy wasters with fake disabilities living on the state.   Neither on the other side of the divide are owner occupiers people who sweated all their working lives to pay their mortgages to buy their Englishman’s Castle.   Yes they did have to work hard and save the pennies as well as the pounds, but the largest part of homeowners’ wealth was accumulated as they were sleeping.  House price inflation was a direct result of over easy credit, when as a society we should have been saving for our frail futures.

Unfortunately, there are extreme examples of selfishness and greed that allow the headline hungry media to continue to promote the differences.   A few people earning £100,000 a year still living in a Council house and on the other side of the fence, wealthy homeowners still claiming their winter fuel allowance.  The reality as the pensioner years approach, is that frailty is a great leveler.  Your health becomes much more important than whether you own your home.

It is this ill-informed and wrong-headed stance that is blocking progress on the Dilnot report and the Government is right to consider it as “work in progress”.  Dilnot was never the whole answer, because none of the political parties nor the electorate would vote for the harsh reality of some of the necessary changes.

There simply is not enough money for free social care for all, given the increase in longevity and the growth in the older elderly population.  It is a collective failure.  Both successive Governments and individuals have not set aside enough money for a future frail retirement.

Except the picture is not quite so bleak – not everyone will become frail.  The problem is we don’t know who will be affected.  That is why insurance for long-term care is critical to the solution and both Andrew Lansley and Andrew Dilnot recognise that.  The other good news is that we have saved by default through more older people becoming homeowners.

So for now the status quo is sadly the only place to be until an adjustment to the stalemate becomes politically electable.  Let’s hope it is by the next general election.

Politicians reflect our thinking!

This entry was posted in ELDERLY UK POLICY and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Social Care White Paper” 1

  1. Factual, hard hitting and some very sobering thoughts expressed here John, and some prejudices dispelled. I have to go away and contemplate. As you say frailty and old age are a great leveller, and the more we appriciate our neighbours and respect how we all arrived at out dotage, then there is hope!.
    More thoughts later when I have digested the content of your message John.

  2. davidwfreeman237 says:

    What is the class system? We and I bash the well heeled with money sometimes as arrogant and selfish, and not of the working or middleclass. Wait a minute is it our envy at the green dollar, and all that it buys, and what are expectations in life? If one has earned ones living working for an honest days pay, for an honest days toil, then who is the richer? Maybe trust is a problem? and the role of a banker running away with ones hard earned pay cheque to play casinio games on the stockment with investment packages which are agreements made with the devil, and resemble a pact with a bookies runner? Know your neighbours and friends, and when one becomes old and frail we are as you suguess John all in the same boat are far as health, and mental attributes are concerned.
    At the point of care if we have taught our children correctly, then socially in old age we should all be equal? It is how we reached this point that is a matter for contemplation, if we have robbed and thieved off our neighbours and friends then we deserve to be negelected, if we have lived a full life helping others then we should maybe more tolerant to those who have reach the same period in life whether they are social tennants or private owners of property? We all take different paths through life, and it is not nesccessarily labeled as a class system, One has to look at the inner person? In this are we teaching our younger children the right values for life? In this we do need wisdom and guidance, not blind beliefs in such ideas as ‘Class systems’!!
    In our dotage it is what we have done throughout our lives that matters, and it is our children, and those of our neighbours and friends who may and do operate the levers of power and are able to help us all as a society and as individuals? Do you agree, you may not?

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