Intended for healthcare professionals


Social care: manifesto debacle shows need for wider debate

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 24 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2511
  1. Richard Humphries, senior fellow, social care
  1. King's Fund, London, UK
  1. R.Humphries{at}

All political parties agree that social care funding needs reform, but none of the proposed solutions deal fully with the problem, says Richard Humphries

Governments of all political persuasions over the past 20 years have made bold promises to reform the way social care is funded. All have discovered that this is easier said than done despite the mounting human and financial costs, including the effect on the NHS. The events of the past week suggest the next government will find it no less difficult.

The Dilnot Commission was the coalition government’s attempt to resolve the conundrum. Its central recommendation—a cap on how much people would be expected to pay over their lifetime from their own savings and assets—was accepted and included in legislation. But 10 weeks after the 2015 election, implementation was postponed until 2020 and then, in last …

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