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Long term care in peril as government focuses on Brexit

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A focus on Brexit is eroding interest in reforming the later life care system, according to Just Group’s Care Report 2019.

The report showed a significant fall in public interest in the care debate, with more than half (51 per cent) of over-45s believing care reform is being neglected due to Brexit negotiations.

Three in 10 are worried that Brexit could negatively affect the provision and quality of later life care, mainly due to difficulties recruiting staff, increasing medicine costs and shortage of supplies.

The report showed that the provision of long-term care continues to be a major problem in the UK.

Some 15 per cent of over 85s currently live in a care home or long-stay hospital and this is expected to reach nearly half a million people by 2041. Yet 68 per cent of over-75s have neither thought, planned nor discussed long-term care – equivalent to over 3.5 million people. Worryingly, 93 per cent of over 55s have made no provision for the cost of long-term care.

The government has now delayed its social care green paper six times since 2017 and there remains no conclusion in sight. In the meantime, the care rules remain poorly understood by the general public.

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said “For years we found around two-thirds of over-45s expressed interest in the debate but that dropped this year to just over half, while those saying they are not interested has almost trebled to 17 per cent. Repeated delays to government proposals appear to be corroding interest in the debate and that could well be further weakening interest in planning for care.

“With local authorities struggling to meet the growing care bill of an ageing population and few individuals planning to meet their own care costs, the need for reform grows more urgent by the day.”

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