The managing director of Home Instead Senior Care has called for a cross-party group of MPs to explore new ways of funding health and social care.
Martin Jones told Home Care Insight that health and social care has become a “political football” in that it is often debated and discussed by opposing parties, but remains unresolved.
He argued that the care sector now needs a cross-party group to work with charities and the public and private sectors to find a solution for future funding.
“I think the problem with social care is that it’s a bit like the NHS in that it is used as a political football because governments don’t really look 10 years into the future, they look four years ahead because they are focused on re-election,” said Jones.
“What we need is a cross-party group to look at how social care and the NHS are funded and where they are going because in 20 years’ time we are going to have a lot of older people. And if we don’t get it right they are just going to bed-block up the NHS.”
Jones said he was in favour of a voucher scheme to help people fund their long-term care.
“We have vouchers to look after our young in terms of nursery, why don’t we open it up and have care vouchers for both ends of the spectrum? If we don’t then it comes back to the ageing population and the ageing workforce,” he explained.
“There are a lot of people who are unknown carers now, who are having to take time off work to look after mum and dad. That is costing the economy billions. If we had some kind of support in there, then actually you could pay for someone to look after mum or dad so that you could be in work and it becomes self-financing from an employment perspective and a government perspective.”
Expressing his views on the delayed Social Care Green Paper, Jones said that no single party or politician is going to resolve the social care crisis, especially now that the Government’s current focus is on Brexit.
“The fact that [the Green Paper] keeps on getting kicked into the long grass kind of speaks volumes to me. But if you were Theresa May, what would you do? Unless you want to leave a legacy about you as a person you aren’t going to do anything about social care,” he said.
“It is not a vote winner, you aren’t going to be there when it comes to fruition – because it is going to be 15 to 20 years hence in terms of what you have done – and it is going to cost a lot of money. So when you are only thinking of the next four to five years, why would you bother, and that is the problem.
“You kind of need someone who is mission-driven – like Bevan who started the NHS and who wanted to do something not just about the here and now, but for the future of the country from a legacy point of view. The Green Paper is good and it needs to happen. My worry is that even if the Green Paper progresses, all the focus will be on Brexit for quite some time.”
The full interview with Martin Jones, managing director of Home Instead Senior Care, will be published this month.