UK Health Committee calls for extra £7B for social care

The U.K.’s health committee today called on the government to increase social care funding by £7 billion a year by 2023-24 to avoid the risk of market collapse.

Its report into the deepening crisis in social care argues that doing nothing is “no longer an option.” It underlines that £7 billion would be just a starting point and not address unmet need or improve access to care. It says a 10-year plan is needed to address wider issues in the sector.

The cash comprises of £3.9 billion to meet demographic changes and planned wage increases and £3.1 billion to introduce a lifetime cap of £46,000 per person.

The report also calls for transitional arrangements to ensure the sector can continue to recruit overseas workers until it builds a sufficient domestic workforce, and recommends allowing senior care workers to qualify for visas.

At present, social care in England isn’t free for all who need it. People who have modest savings or who own property need to fund their care. These costs can be prohibitive; for example, the total cost of care for people living with dementia is estimated at £100,000 to £500,000. Around one in ten of those over 65 will pay more than £100,000 for their care.

Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt — who previously served as health secretary — said the COVID-19 pandemic “held up in lights the brilliant and brave work done by the social care workforce — but the real thank you they want is not a weekly clap but a long term plan for the crisis in their sector.”

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the health care policy agenda. Email pro@politico.eu for a complimentary trial.

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