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Commission sets out funding options for widening eligibility for free social care

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5396 (Published 04 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5396
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Social care should be provided free at the point of use for more people and paid for by tax and welfare changes that would hit middle aged and elderly people, the Barker Commission on the future of health and social care in England has recommended.1

Providing free social care for all those whose needs are defined as substantial or critical would cost an additional £3bn (€3.8bn; $5bn) a year if adopted immediately, rising to £14bn a year by 2025-26, the commission estimates. But it would enable health and social care to be brought within a single ringfenced budget, simplify procedures, and rescue a social care system in danger of collapse.

To make it possible the commission recommends a flat rate prescription charge with a cap but no exemptions, the abolition of winter fuel payments and free television licences for most pensioners, and changes in national insurance contributions that would …

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