The government has set out its plans for the reform of the social care system as part of the launch of the National Care Service by health secretary Andy Burnham.
In what the Department of Health (DoH) describes as "the biggest change to the welfare state since the creation of the NHS", everyone who needs care when they get old or become disabled will get it for free.
With an aging population, it is important that radical changes are made to the care system, Mr Burnham said.
Similar to the NHS, the National Care service will be a system of "shared social insurance", with everyone contributing to supporting the older people when they need care services, the DoH claims.
"I feel very strongly that this is a responsibility we must all help to shoulder. It's clear from what we have heard from the thousands of people who have given us their opinions on this over the past twelve months, that people agree," said Mr Burnham.
Commenting on the new social care white paper published today, CEO and founder of national care provider Barchester Healthcare Mike Parsons said: This really is a cop out, the case of presentation over content.
"Lots of noble words but read the small print and it is a sleight of hand – capping the cost after two years of residential care is easily done when the average length of stay in a care home is less than two years!
"The Personal Care at Home Bill states that £670m will look after 400,000 people with highly acute needs in their own homes, but what does that actually amount to? Divide one number by the other and you get the princely sum of £31.25 per week. How much care do you think that buys? Less than a few minutes each day!
"The London School of Economics have pointed out that care at home is only cheaper than residential care when people need less than 30 hours care per week. For a person with highly acute needs, four hours a day is very little – the Government is talking about the containment of people, not care of people.
"Where will the money come from? The Health Secretary does not say. But he suggests another Royal Commission. Exactly what Tony Blair did on assuming power in 1997. It took two years to report and then his government ignored the findings; another Royal Commission will be another attempt to kick the issue into the long grass."
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