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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


seriously.”


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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