Labour health spokesman and Lords deputy leader Lord Philip Hunt is warning the Government’s proposed long-term care funding system “faces collapse” due to the weight of demand.
The Care bill proposes a cap of £72,000 on long-term care costs 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.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour party conference in Brighton this week, Lord Hunt, a former health minister who has 30 years’ experience in the health sector, 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 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 the system will collapse.”
Lord Hunt also wants to see the Care bill amended to require self-funders to be referred to regulated advisers rather than signposting people to “independent financial advice”.
Partnership head of corporate affairs Jim Boyd says: “This is a chilling warning about the impact of the health proposals in 2016.”
LEBC chartered and certified financial planner Trevor Durham says: “Lord Hunt makes an excellent point, although if assessments are made between April 2015 and April 2016 as proposed, this should help ease the problem.
“But surely, if the current system only ‘works’ because so many people do not bother to go through the assessment process, then all the more reason to change it.”