100 signatures reached
To: Matt Hancock, Minister of Health
Affordable Social Care for People with Dementia
Provide a social care system that does not require people to have to sell their homes to pay for it.
The reform package of the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR, May 2019) shows that fully funded free personal care for over 65's can be paid for by modest increases in National Insurance(~1.3%), or in Income Tax(~2.1%).
Without further delay adopt this reform package and adapt it to include the minority of younger people with dementia and provide a social care system in England that befits a civilised society.
Why is this important?
My beloved first wife died in 2012 with Alzheimer's disease. Since then I have volunteered for Admiral Nurses (an NHS Charity) who care for dementia sufferers and their carers. I have witnessed many times the unjust provision of social care in England that adds financial worries to people who are already distressed. The worry of not being able to afford good social care for a loved one and of having to sell one's home to pay for social care, imposes a great additional stress on the carer. The great strain and stress experienced by carers of dementia patients is well documented, as is the effect of stress on mental health. As Minister of Health you have the power and responsibility to provide good affordable social care in England, to eliminate unnecessary financial worries associated with social care and dementia, and to improve the health and well-being of those cared for and their carers.
Today in the UK there are 800,000 people with dementia. Most, ~98% are over 65 years old with about 18,000 people aged 30 to 64 years. People who are unlucky and develop dementia are faced with annual costs for social care of £15,000 to £50,000. For all but the very wealthy, social care costs are at the least a severe problem. For many the costs can be disastrous. Each year in the UK about 128,000 people have to sell their homes to pay for social care. All people with dementia, regardless of age, deserve good affordable social care. Risks of loss of, or damage to, homes, or cars etc., are spread across those who own them by insurance. But there is no insurance that spreads the risk of the financial consequences of acquiring dementia.
Sir Andrew Dilnot’s Report on Social Care, commissioned by the Coalition government in 2010, recommends ways to provide good social care that avoid impoverishing those who need it. Since 2011 the UK government has several times postponed implementing the main recommendation of the Dilnot Report, a cap on social care costs of £35,000. As a consequence some people are still having to sell their homes to pay for social care. In the 9 years since The Dilnot Report, the UK government has singularly failed to address the inadequate, unfair, and unsustainable current provision of social care. During this period of continued inaction more than half a million dementia patients have died.
The Institute of Public Policy Research's comprehensive reform package for social care[Pinner and Hochlaf IPPR May 2019] includes fully funded free personal care for over 65's. This can be paid for by modest increases in National Insurance(~1.3%), or in Income Tax(~2.1%). The IPPR reform package spreads the financial risks associated with over 65's needing social care across the working population, but does not address the problems face by younger people. The UK Government must tackle immediately the inadequate, unfair provision of social care, by building on the IPPR proposed reforms to include the minority of younger people who suffer with dementia.
As Minister of Health you have the power and the responsibility to improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people with dementia, young and old, and their carers, and to ensure that no-one will ever have to sell their home to pay for Social Care. Exercise your powers with compassion now.