Liberal Vannin welcomes the consultation into the future funding of social care on the Island, introduced by our Party Leader, Lawrie Hooper, MHK, in his role as Minister for Health & Social Care.
Lawrie and Liberal Vannin have recognised the need to address this issue has been building up for some time and we hope that people will take the opportunity to have their say to better integrate health and social care on the Island. The aim should be to provide care at home, with transfer to residential care delayed for as long as possible, subject to clinical need.
Details of the consultation can be found at:
The consultation covers two proposals for changing how social care is funded. One is called the “Mixed Model”, which is basically a half-way house between the situation we now have, with social care being largely self-funded as we get older, and the second model, which proposes a system similar to Scotland, where care is provided free to all those assessed as being in need. This brings Social Care into line with the principles of our Health Care – free at the point of need.
Liberal Vannin commends this ‘Scottish’ approach as the preferred model and asks people responding to the consultation to express support for it.
We strongly agree that free personal care should be provided for all, regardless of their income or assets, where there is an assessed clinical need for care, due to illness or infirmity. We also agree that this should extend to support services to help with housework, shopping and out of home activities, where there is clinical need and no family able to assist.
The various scenarios in the proposed ‘Mixed Model’ are improvements on the present system, but we believe don’t meet the aspirations of those who are looking to integrate health and social care within the principles of the ‘NHS’.
Whichever model we choose will undoubtedly require additional funding, but we believe that, as with our health service, those fortunate enough to be on good incomes and with capital assets, should pay through the tax system and /or National Insurance contributions, rather than through direct charges for nursing care. We know this comes with a cost and the right way of funding it is through progressive taxation for all, throughout our lives, not by direct charges on those in need, at the most vulnerable time in their lives. We also acknowledge that there needs to be inter-generational fairness in how this is funded, it can’t be a case of loading up current / younger workers to fund care for older people – it has to be fair for all.
Whichever system is adopted, people needing to go into residential care will still be required to contribute for their food and accommodation. People should not be forced to sell their family home to pay for this. Low interest government loans against the property should be considered, together with any rental income from the family home if that is an option.
Finally, we believe this funding model should apply to all those in clinical need of social care in their own home or in residential care, whatever their age. It will obviously apply mainly to people in later life but should apply to all who become infirm and in need of care at any stage of their lives.