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Govt hints it may pay for all elderly nursing care

The Government is considering paying for all nursing care for the elderly

in a move that would allow insurers to slash long-term care premiums by up

to half.

The industry has given a cautious welcome to remarks by Health Secretary

Alan Milburn who indicated in a speech to the Royal College of Nursing&#39s

conference last week that the Government was considering funding all

nursing costs.

The move would mean the Government is considering implementing the main

recommendation of the royal commission on LTC, having previously poured

cold water on its findings.

At the time of the report, insurers calculated the move would allow them

to slash premiums and fund the accommodation element alone.

Milburn hinted that free nursing care without means-testing could be

announced as part of the Government&#39s comprehensive spending review in

July. He said: “The prospect of free nursing care could allow us to do

more. I mentioned free nursing care in my speech for a very specific

reason. We are looking at it very closely and we are taking it very


CGU Life LTC strategy manager Sandy Johnstone says: “The minister&#39s

comments have generated national headlines saying &#39free care and no means

testing&#39 but how he is defining nursing care needs to be set out so we can

work out what the cost implications are to see if LTC will really be turned

on its head.”

But royal commission member, Continuing Care Conference chairman and

Westminster Healthcare chief executive Dr Chai Patel, says: “It looks like

a step in the right direction because once people know what they need to

pay for they will know what to go to insurance companies for.”

IFACare chairman Graham Fidoe says: “The actual cost of nursing care is

extremely difficult to define. In certain situations, the cost is

relatively low compared with boarding and social costs. We are seeking

clarification to stop the issue from being a political football.”


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