Social care free at the point of need, commission advises

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Social care should be free at the point of need and funded from general taxation, a commission in Wales has found.

The Care Commission, set up by Plaid Cymru, also believes there needs to be parity of pay between health and social care and workers in the sector should be moved onto NHS pay scales, its report Developing a vision for social care in Wales said.

‘The cost of free social care is eminently affordable but it needs the political will to make it happen,’ it said: ‘We have been estimating the resultant costs and one of our examples is that the cost of free home and residential social care for adults in Wales would be approximately £247m per year.’

Other recommendations included investment in early intervention and preventative health and care services, transforming care into a person-centred service, with a fully bilingual workforce and government investment in technology.

Proposals will be considered by the political party as policy for elections in 2021.

Helen Mary Jones AM, Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for health and social services, said the policy would ‘correct the injustices’ of people with dementia having to sell their homes to pay for bills.

She said the existing system was ‘inefficient, unsustainable and creates the wrong incentives for providers.’

The report follows plans by the Labour Party, announced at its annual conference last week, to introduce free personal care in England if it were to come into power.

Independent Age, which has been running a campaign to introduce free personal care, said the Labour proposals represented ‘a significant step towards the fair, simple and effective social care system that all older people deserve.’

However, The King’s Fund said while the proposal was a positive step ‘free personal care is not the same thing as free social care, and some people would still be left facing catastrophic costs of care.’