So, the Government is to pour more and more money into the first aid camp at the bottom of the cliff rather than building a fence at the top.
Yesterday’s announcement on the funding for social care does nothing to enhance the quality of life of older people or reduce the demand for hospital treatment or long-term care. 4/5th of the expenditure of the NHS is on older people, there are 1.8m older people living in poverty, with a correlation between income and demand upon the NHS in all age groups.
When campaigning for the abolition of the “retirement age”, which was responsible for a great deal of depression amongst older people many of whom were forced into retirement and condemned to spending the rest of their lives in poverty, I advocated that people should go on paying National Insurance whilst ever they were working, not to squander on more of the same as the Government now intends, but to increase the basic State Pension to enhance the lives of older people and reduce the demand for long term care.
The Netherlands with the highest pension in Europe spends 60% of its health budget on older people: Britain, with one of the lowest state pensions spends 80%. Increasing the basic state pension in line with many other European Countries, could be self-financing (needing only upfront pump priming) with no need to raise National Insurance or any other tax, by reducing demand for both hospital treatment and long-term care and enabling those who do need long term care to contribute more from their income, whilst still retaining their personal allowance, with no need to take savings or capital into account.
Quite the contrary to this, stopping the free TV licence was effectively a cut in income and now the “triple lock” is under threat so it will not be long before the Government need to throw more money at the problem. There needs to be radical reform based upon a whole systems review (see this article, the concept of which was first published in an article by me in the Municipal Journal some five years ago.)
* Chris Perry is a former Director of Social Services of South Glamorgan County Council, a former Non-Executive Director of Winchester & Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust and a former Director of Age Concern Hampshire.