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Labour warns new LTC system ‘faces collapse’ due to demand

Labour health spokesman and Lords deputy leader Lord Philip Hunt is warning the Government’s proposed long-term care funding system will “face collapse” due to the weight of demand.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour party conference in Brighton yesterday, Lord Hunt fears the number of people looking to get assessed for care could overwhelm local authorities.

The Care bill proposes a cap of £72,000 on costs for long-term care from April 2016 meaning people who are funding themselves will need to be assessed by local authorities and start registering care payments against the cap.

Lord Hunt is a former health minister and NHS Confederation chief executive after spending 30 years working in the health service or on health policy.

He said: “There are an awful lot of issues around local authority capacity in relation to the assessment of self-funders. Once this commences there will be thousands of people who will want to get assessed because that will enable the clock to start ticking to reach £72,000.

“I was once involved in setting up the Child Support Agency and when it was brought in in the early 1990s it was retrospective so thousands of parents on benefits were deemed to be owing money to the state and the CSA collapsed under the weight of that expectation. I have a great fear that local authorities are not going to be able to deal with all the self-funders who will want to be assessed the moment this comes into being. I have real concerns that the system will collapse.”

Lord Hunt also criticised the Care bill for not referring self-funders to regulated advisers, claiming it is a “big gap” in the legislation and he hopes it can be changed. The bill currently only signposts people to “independent financial advice” but not regulated advisers.

Partnership head of corporate affairs Jim Boyd says: “Few people are as well placed as Lord Hunt to understand the impact of health policies on the health and social care system. What he says is a chilling warning about the impact of health proposals in 2016.”

Click here for all the latest financial services stories from the Labour conference in Brighton

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Comments

There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Ahmed the wise one 24th September 2013 at 9:06 am

    In this ever changing world where do we stand?
    On what we said and try to deny?
    On what we say and hope nobody remembers?
    Labour (the mad dogs of politics) need to work with the Government and stop trying to prove they were right (wrong) all the time.
    LTC is a corporate responsibility and is not a pawn in the game of politics.
    Financial responsibility lies in our hands as one day we will need LTC.
    We are not building irresponsible transport links costing billions.
    This money could support huge numbers of our senior population for many years, whilst we try to get the right answer.
    It is the responsibility of the Government to look after the people who put them in power.
    They are there for us,we are not there for them!

  2. Lord Hunt makes an excellent point, this does seem to be a gap, although the consultation paper does make clear that assessments mak be made between April 2015 and April 2016, which should help ease the problem.

    Surely also, if the system only “works” because so many people don’t use it (i.e. don’t bother going through the Single Assessment Process), then all the more reason to change it.

  3. Instead or merely throwing stones at the proposals of its political rivals, why doesn’t Labour come up with a useful, practical and cost-effective alternative such as monthly premium insurance plans with tax relief at source? Selection against insurers could be curbed by imposing an upper age limit for new applicants and a minimum number of years before a claim may be made. Wouldn’t that be workable? If so, why isn’t the ABI throwing its weight behind such a solution?

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