You are here

Wanless review condemns elderly NHS care

30th March 2006

Social care and healthcare arrangements for Britain's elderly have "very serious shortcomings" according to a King's Fund review.

Sir Derek Wanless' review says radical reform and increased investment are urgently required, anticipating that a £3 billion funding increase will be needed to bring care levels for the elderly up to acceptable standards.

An imbalanced distribution of services, budget-constrained public resources and an ageing population are the main pressures facing today's system, which the review says focuses too heavily on those requiring intensive levels of care.

"To provide good social care for older people in England in 20 years time and meet people's expectations, we will need to devote a larger share of our national income to social care," Sir Derek said.

"But money on its own will not be enough… to achieve the outcomes assumed in this review, the system needs to be more universal with broader eligibility criteria."

The review puts forward a partnership model would be adopted which matches state contributions to those by individuals up to the basic benchmark level of care as a replacement for the unpopular means-tested system of apportioning care costs.

Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Sandra Gidley said the review was a "damning verdict" of the government's approach to elderly care, adding her party would introduce free care for all.

The review concluded that such an option, which is offered in Scotland and Wales, would not be viable for the English elderly population because of the wider range of services required.