What price would you pay for care and support?

Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross have a lot to answer for, as their duet “The best things in life are free” has seeped into the nation’s consciousness. We’ll grab whatever is going free, without thinking about the real cost.

My girlfriend recently upbraided me for using the small shampoo bottle in the hotel room. But why? It was free. But using it forces it to be replaced meaning more small plastic bottles which costs the environment.

As individuals in a society, we need to stop ignoring the costs attached to our choices because even if it is not us who pays for it directly, we will in some way.

The Government’s White Paper was launched with their main message that “everyone who needs care when they are old or disabled will get it for free”. Really? Just like that? Of course not, this will cost money meaning somebody needs to pay for it.

Free residential care for people after two years? Wow, have the Government persuaded nursing homes to stop charging? Err, no. And even if they did, there would still be a cost to the nursing home, which might be partly borne by their low paid staff. And so on.

The idea of paying for something from your estate (death tax…) seems abhorrent to many. But would you rather pay it when you are alive? Labour’s proposals will cost money but the fact is that there are millions of people who are already doing that and sometimes paying much more than what these proposals would cost.

Likewise, the Conservative offer of paying £8k at 65 to cover all residential care fees prompts many to splutter at the suggestion of finding £8k. But again, there are already many people spending more than that on care, and some of them are having to sell homes to do so. And those that cannot afford the £8k would not be asked to pay for their social care in the first place.

The upsurge in media and public interest in social care has been accompanied with alarm at the costs of the proposals. What has been forgotten is that there are already many people paying thousands and thousands of pounds, and then also suffering emotional costs because the current system inadequately supports carers and people receiving care.

Even if you read this thinking “I wont need care at home or in residential care so why should I pay?” – think about your mother, father, husband or wife. It is likely that at least one of them will need care. What price would you pay to ensure they get the care and support they need? I would sell my house, raid my pension, use all of my savings but the point is that a good system would mean I wouldn’t have to.

Take care,


The Princess Royal Trust for Carers comment on the proposed National Care Service

And for those real gluttons for punishment among you, feel free to read my summary of the main proposals in the White Paper.

April 1, 2010 - Posted by | Social Care | , , , ,


  1. There has been a lot in the press and the television amd the radio lately about care for the elderly and the disabled and how it is to be payed for.Political parties have been putting foward proposals for the public to consider and debate.
    This is all well and good but as usual ill informed by those who have little experience of the reality of the disabled and there carers.
    We the carers have been paying for a caring system for may decades with our lives and circumstances while the country and the goverment have been enjoying a service they have not had to pay for.
    It is time the goverment and the country recognised who really does what and give carers the proper support for the work they do which so often goes unrecognised and unrewarded.
    Many carers are cut off – disillsoned and depressed by the unfeeling – ill considered and often ill informed ocmments that are made about carers.


    Comment by Taras Kurylak | April 2, 2010 | Reply


    Most care of the elderly and disabled is not provided in residential care settings. The vast majority of care is given quietly, voluntarily and unnoticed in people’s homes.
    There are about six million carers in Britain making a contribution to society which has been valued at £87 billion – more than the total costs of the National Health Service. Over one million people in Britain experience ill health, poverty and discrimination at work and in society because they are carers. (Source: Carers UK). Neither Local Authorities nor the public care about these wonderful people: voluntary unpaid carers get little help and recognition from the rest of society

    One of the few services that Councils do pay for to help carers is respite care –to give carers a few hours a week out from their onerous but unpaid caring work, and this is much appreciated. Until recently, the vast majority of respite care has been provided by voluntary organisations which try hard to match the skills, experience, attitudes and personality of individual workers who provide respite care to families’ needs.

    But especially in the last year, there has been a rapid increase in the number of Local Authorities who go out to tender for respite care services. By doing this, Councils typically save themselves £3 or £4 per hour of respite care. They justify this by saying that they want to get better value for money, but this is utter nonsense. Often voluntary organisations lose the contracts for respite care to privately owned organisations. ( see for example ).While voluntary organisations’ aims are to help carers, most commercial organisations’ main aim is to make a profit. So the services they provide are indeed much cheaper, but less thoughtful, less caring and less reliable. Councils save money at the expense of both carers and the people they care for. The end result is that carers’ health suffers, more of them end up in hospital, and this costs the NHS far more than the Councils save.

    Comment by Peter Senker | April 5, 2010 | Reply

  3. The peoples policies website, offers us all a chance to vote on up-to-the-minute issues and current affairs.
    There are the usual vote for this and vote for that type of thing, there’s everything from public toilets to be free to a whole range of social issues and among them a poll in support of unpaid Family Carers.

    Family Carers are probably the most under-valued and under supported group in todays society so please take a minute to show your support.
    vote here.

    Comment by Wendy Chill4us | April 12, 2010 | Reply

  4. Family Carers have got into the final 10.
    Please vote.

    “Millions Decide We’ve narrowed down all your policies to 10 serious contenders – five from the top spots on the leaderboard and five of our all-time favourites.

    Now they go head to head in the battle to be the people’s favourite policy – just as the ‘other’ election comes to its summit.

    The finalists will get their policies voted right here on the site, and in our Yahoo! banners. The final three will have their cracking policies illustrated by our political cartoonist and printed in the Metro newspaper to brighten up the commuters’ journeys.”

    Comment by Wendy Chill4us | May 6, 2010 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: