Green paper promises ‘fairer, simple and affordable’ care system


The government has announced plans for a “National Care Service” that would provide a “fairer, simple and affordable” system of care and support for disabled adults and older people in England.
The green paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together, lays out a series of guarantees for the new system.
Care and support needs would be assessed in the same way across England, with the same proportion of costs paid no matter where someone lived.
Crucially, this needs assessment would be “portable” and so would still be valid if a disabled person moved to a new local authority area.
The green paper promises that everyone who qualifies for care and support would get some financial help; and the right support would be provided to allow them to stay independent for as long as possible.
Services would be “better joined up”, and there would only be one assessment of needs for a range of services.
There would be easily accessible information about the care system; more joined-up working, particularly between health and social care; and a wider range of better quality support services.
The green paper laid out three options for reforming care funding, particularly focusing on older people, each offering some state funding for those with needs above a certain threshold.
Although it is not yet clear how these options would affect disabled people under the retirement age, the green paper “envisages” that most people who were disabled from birth or became disabled during their working lives would continue to receive free state-funded support.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of the charity Scope, said the green paper contained “some very encouraging developments”, particularly the proposal for a National Care Service, which he said should help “iron out widespread inconsistencies in social care provision”.
He said the proposed single assessment, and a guaranteed level of support wherever a person lived, was “a major step forward”.
But he warned that a key test would be where the government decided to set the eligibility threshold for care and support.
He said: “This cannot simply be confined to people with high support needs – social care services are key to the independence and dignity of disabled people with less severe, but no less important needs.”
A consultation on the green paper lasts until 13 November. Visit
15 July 2009