The Government is conducting a review of the model of social care and its availability for the elderly. Under the current means-tested system, anyone with a home or savings worth more than £23.5k is refused state funding for their care. About 75% of patients requiring social care fall into that bracket. In contrast, those who reach a particular threshold of care needs in Scotland receive care which is funded entirely by the state.

The proposals put forward by ministers comprise three possibilities:

  • Partnership - the state would guarantee and meet a certain level of care costs (probably between one third and one quarter) which would then be topped up by the patient
  • Insurance - similar to the partnership model except that the Government would create insurance schemes for people to pay into to cover the top-up element for which the patient would be responsible
  • Comprehensive - patients would be required to make a one-off payment of £20k on retirement and the state would thereafter meet all further social care costs except accommodation costs Under the proposed new system, the poorest would continue to have their full care costs met by the state. The proposals will now be considered as part of the four-month consultation.