Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has outlined a £2bn care guarantee plan for the elderly as part of proposals to reform the NHS.
The plan is based on Derek Wanless’ partnership model which both the Government and the Conservatives have endorsed to varying degrees.
The model guarantees elderly people a payment to cover the majority of their care costs. Individuals are ten encouraged to top up their care package by making private contributions which would be matched by the state up to a maximum benchmark.
The Lib Dems would provide a personal care payment for all elderly people requiring care, based on need rather than their ability to pay. It would also set out the entitlements of people in care and their carers.
Clegg says: “Many older people are not getting the personal care they so desperately require. We are the first party with serious plans to end the punishing poverty which afflicts the many elderly people forced to pay for their personal care entirely out of their own pockets. It simply is not possible to be committed to a free and fair NHS without ending this scandalous injustice.”
Care fees planning company Symponia managing director Janet Davies says: “I do not think the Lib Dems are looking at the big picture. The maximum benchmark will really limit the care that elderly people can choose, for example, if a person’s care fees are £1,000 a week, they will have to top up a lot more than someone whose fees are £500 a week. It is good that they have listened to the Wanless review but they really need to speak to families and financial advisers involved in this area to get it right.”