Ed Davey launches plan for free personal care to end hospital crisis and help people stay in their own homes

4 Jun 2024
Hands knitting
  • Liberal Democrats announce ground-breaking plans to offer free personal care to all those who need it
  • Ed Davey will put care at the heart of the Liberal Democrats’ plan for the country, becoming the first ever party to have a dedicated chapter in manifesto on care
  • Latest figures show over 12,700 hospital beds taken up by patients ready to be discharged with some waiting months
  • The party’s flagship social care announcement will be funded by reversing tax cuts given to big banks by the Conservatives

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will today launch a bold plan to fix the social care crisis, including providing free personal care to help elderly people stay in their own homes for longer.

The ground-breaking policy would revolutionise the care system in England and alleviate pressure on the NHS, by providing free personal care for everyone who needs it. The plan would help more people to receive the care they need in their own homes and prevent people having to sell their house to pay for personal care.

Personal care covers nursing care, help with mobility, hygiene and medication, whether people are in their own home or a care home. Those needing residential care would still have to contribute towards their accommodation.

Ed Davey, who has been a carer himself throughout his life, said that too often family carers were being left to “pick up the pieces” because the care system wasn’t there for them. He added that fixing the care crisis is fundamental to tackling the crisis facing the NHS.

 

An estimated 1.6 million elderly people in England have unmet care needs, with many stranded in hospital beds due to the lack of space in care homes or resources to provide follow-up care in their own homes. The latest figures show an average of 12,772 hospital beds in England per day this April were occupied by people ready to be discharged. An average of 1,994 patients a day in April were waiting to begin care at home, while 1,904 patients a day were waiting for a bed in a care home.

In one-heart-breaking case, a woman with autism in Sussex saw her health significantly deteriorate after spending nine months in hospital waiting for a place in a care home.

The Liberal Democrats’ plans would cost £2.7 billion a year by 2028-29, fully funded by reversing tax cuts handed by the Conservative party to the big banks since 2016. The party’s plan would also save the NHS up to £3 billion through reduced pressure on hospitals and other NHS services.

The Liberal Democrats will have a dedicated chapter on care in their manifesto, becoming the first political party to do so. The plan will also include introducing a Carer’s Minimum Wage set £2 above the minimum wage to tackle the huge shortage of care workers, and creating a Royal College of Care Workers comparable to the Royal Colleges of nursing and midwives.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

As a carer for my disabled son, and after caring for my ill mother when I was young, care is deeply personal for me. That is why I am putting fixing the care crisis at the heart of the Liberal Democrat offer to the country at this election.

Far too often, family carers are being left to pick up the pieces because the care system simply isn’t there for them. Millions of people are going without the care they need, while thousands are stuck in hospital beds instead of being cared for in their own home or a care home.

We cannot fix the crisis facing the NHS without fixing the crisis facing social care. The Liberal Democrats would bring in free personal care to help people live independently and with dignity, in their own homes wherever possible.

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