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Dilnot issues rallying call

Andrew Dilnot, the economist tasked with suggesting reforms for the elderly care system in the UK, has urged leading figures to be “less polite” and lobby politicians to bring about change. Speaking at the English Community Care Association conference in London at the end of November, Dilnot revealed his frustration at the government dragging its feet over his proposals. “We have a model that works for an amount of money that is plausible – we just have to have the guts to do it,” he said. “No politician, local or national, wants to talk about this as the current funding structure stinks – it is crazy.”

2 December 2011

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?“We need to be less polite, and a little bit more cross,” he said. “Write to your MP, write to your minister, because we need to be taken seriously on this.”

?The Dilnot Commission published its Fairer Care Funding report in July this year, but the subsequent lack of action has led to growing fears that Westminster will not take up the recommendations. Ministers have raised concerns about the cost of Dilnot’s central proposal that would see the state step in if an individual’s lifetime care costs were more than £35,000. This would cost taxpayers an extra £2bn and is perceived to be too controversial at a time when the government is straining to push through swingeing public spending cuts.

?Dilnot refuted such arguments. “It is not a question of whether or not we can afford it, it is whether we want to spend money on looking after ourselves, and what role the state should play in this. Surely this is important enough for us to have the courage to implement it?”

?A Department of Health spokesman told The Telegraph: “We are committed to reforming the social care system. The commission has begun to expose the complexities, difficulties and the trade-offs that will be required.

?“However, the commission did not cover other fundamental issues like how to improve quality, the integration of care and simplifying our care laws to make it easier for people to get the help they need.

?“That is why we are considering these issues before we set out our plans for a major reform of social care in a white paper and progress report on funding in spring 2012. Experts in the field have welcomed this approach.” n

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