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From dementia tax to a solution for social care

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Unlike the NHS, social care is both means and needs tested. Even in 1947 it was seen as dealing with 'the residual categories' of people in need - older and disabled people, previously subject to the Poor Law - and its funding made dependent on resources. Precisely because of this difference, under neoliberalism more and more people have been shifted from NHS services to social care. In a situation of chronic underfunding, the personal budget solution supported by disabled people has become an excuse to find fixes that make people responsible for their own care. But there has been no political will for the progressive wealth tax that could raise the extra funding required for a truly universal service. The failures of social care contribute to 'bed-blocking' and over-use of A&E services, as well as deteriorating health for service-users. Yet social care could become a jewel in the service industry crown, an important part of an economy of care, and a creator of collective social wealth for society. A consistency of funding and principle between social care and the NHS is the only route to the long-sought integration between the two services.
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Keywords: DISABILITY; ELDER CARE; FUNDING; MEANS TEST; NEOLIBERALISM; NHS; PERSONAL BUDGETS; SOCIAL CARE; TAXATION; UNIVERSALISM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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