So what's it all about? Here is some general information on topics raised in the Care in the UK season. For the latest advice and announcements on the care system, consult the specialist organisations listed on the Contacts page.
The health think tank, the Kings Fund, commissioned Sir Derek Wanless to lead a review looking at social care. Published in 2006 'Securing Good Care for Older People: Taking a long-term view' concluded that sharp increases in funding were needed to meet the demand for high-quality care.
The review found very serious shortcomings in social care provision and funding. It recommended that means-tested funding should be scrapped and replaced with a partnership model. Everyone in need would be entitled to an agreed level of free care, after which individuals' contributions would be matched by the state up to a defined limit. People on low incomes would be eligible for benefits to fund their contributions.
Simply keeping pace with increasing numbers of older people alone, without providing any improvements in care services or funding – would require an increase from the 2002 level of £10.1 billion (1.1% of GDP) to £24.0 billion (1.5% of GDP) by 2026. Actually improving social care would mean increasing GDP to 2.0 % over the next 20 years.