Labour’s new free personal care plan could save the NHS billions of pounds a year, a think tank that proposed the policy has said.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has welcomed Labour’s pledge to fund free personal care for over 65s as part of a proposed National Care Service, and outlined the benefits it will bring to the social care sector.
It said the policy, which was proposed by the IPPR in two recent reports, would save the NHS £4.5bn a year by enabling more people to receive state-funded care and shifting care out of hospital and back into the community.
IPPR’s research found that providing free personal care to all those over 65 who need it would also create parity between cancer patients, who receive care on the NHS, and dementia patients, who currently pay for their own care.
The policy would also relieve the burden on family carers, enabling them to return to work or focus on providing emotional and social support rather than basic caring activities; and help join up health and care so that people get a higher quality, more integrated service, the IPPR said.
Tom Kibasi, Director of the IPPR, said: “We are delighted that the Labour Party has made this new commitment to making social care free at the point of need, just like the NHS.
“This was a central recommendation from an expert and cross-party group convened by IPPR and led by former Labour minister Lord Darzi and former Tory minister Lord Prior, now chairman of NHS England.
“With an ageing society, free social care is the new common sense and vastly preferable to complex and unfair insurance schemes. It is right to end the care lottery and provide security and dignity in older age.”