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Govt urged to use health budget to fund LTC reform

An influential healthcare think-tank is calling on the Government to use some of the NHS budget to help pay for Andrew Dilnot’s proposed long-term care reforms.

The Dilnot commission report, published in July last year, calls for a cap on individuals’ lifetime contributions to social care costs of between £25,000 and £50,000, with £35,000 the recommended figure. When the cap is reached, any remaining care costs would be met by the Government.

In January this year, Money Marketing revealed concerns among senior Liberal Democrats that Dilnot’s reform proposals are expensive, bureaucratic and regressive.

A report from the Nuffield Trust, published today, urges policymakers to consider diverting some of the health budget towards paying the cost of implementing Dilnot’s £1.7bn a year reform package.

The think-tank also backs the introduction of a lifetime cap on care contributions, but believes this should be set at £50,000 rather than the £35,000 proposed by Dilnot. It says this would save the Government around £600m a year.

The report says: “The health budget was given a relatively generous treatment in the spending review, with funding broadly consistent in real terms.

“One option for reprioritised spending on public services would be to shift resources from health into social care.”

A spokesman for the Nuffield Trust says: “What we are saying is the Government needs to look again at the balance between long-term health and social care spending.

“That absolutely includes long-term care because there is clearly a gap in terms of funding for Dilnot’s proposals. Reallocating the resources already available could help bridge that gap.”

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