Labour Launches Free Elderly Care

Labour had unveiled plans for a radical shake-up to NHS care for the old and disabled.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham laid out plans that would see a universal free care package for everyone in England.

It had been described as the biggest change to the welfare state since the creation of the NHS.

The National Care Service will be based on a principle of shared social insurance and will be funded by contributions from everyone, Mr Burnham said.

He said it will give peace of mind that savings and homes will be protected from the expensive care costs that arise from serious long term conditions, such as Alzheimer's or recovering from a stroke.

Mr Burnham said the plans do not replacing the millions of carers or families who look after each other.

"They are the underlying principle of the National Care Service and we will better support them.

"With an ever growing older population – there will be 1.7 million more people needing care in the next 20 years – we must radically overhaul the way care is paid for and provided."

He continued: "That’s why we know that the fairest way to help everyone who is affected by a serious disease, illness or disability is for us all to pay into a system so we get free care when we need it."

The cost of care is currently a lottery. No one has any way of knowing how much care and support they may need in the future.

The National Care Service will put an end to this unfair system.

Mr Burnham said it will build on the best of the current system through reforms that are already underway and deliver the Personal Care at Home Bill.

From 2014 extend the coverage of free care so that people will receive free care if they need to stay in residential care for more than two years.

A commission will be set-up to support consensus and advise the Government on the fairest and most sustainable way that people can make their contribution to a care system which is free when they need it.

A National Care Service Leadership Group of expert stakeholders will also advise Government on the implementation of the National Care Service.

For the first time nationally consistent eligibility criteria for social care will be enshrined in law, helping to remove the postcode lottery of care that exists now


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