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Social care should not be privatised, argues Brunel academic

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A new report based on interviews with social care service users  recommends that care for the elderly, vulnerable and disabled should be paid for out of taxation.

The report, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and led by Professor Peter Beresford OBE of Brunel University, West London, is a consultation paper for the Government’s long-awaited White Paper entitled The Future of Social Care in England.

Professor Beresford said: “There is widespread agreement that the present system is unworkable. Our findings show a growing and worrying gulf between service users’ views of social care and the direction of Government policy and thinking.”

Key points outlined report include:

  • the role for the private sector: service users reject the recommendations made last year by the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, chaired by Andrew Dilnot, which recommended that they should be liable for the costs of their care, means-tested with a cap of £100,000;
  • a recommendation to fund social care out of general taxation on the same basis as the NHS;
  • a recommendation for better training, support and supervision and improved terms and conditions of employment: while valuing the commitment of many care workers, service users generally feel that the service provided by social care workers is patchy and under pressure;
  • a recognition that some service users feel anxiety, despair and insecurity and are even suicidal.

Professor Beresford commented: “These findings make disturbing reading. They are based on a relatively small scale study, so there is an urgent need for more research to investigate the issues we have highlighted.

"With rapidly growing numbers of old and disabled people, it is a real priority for the country to implement a workable and sustainable system of social care to complement the NHS.”

The Government’s White Paper on social care in England is due to be published shortly.

Notes to Editors

The report Caring For Our Future: What Service Users Say, by Peter Beresford and Eamon Andrews, is published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Peter Beresford can be contacted for comment:
Email peter.beresford@brunel.ac.uk

Brunel University Press Office:
Email press-office@brunel.ac.uk
Tel +44 (0)1895 274000