Socialist Worker

No cash for care

Issue No. 1769

NEW LABOUR has enraged charities by breaking its pledge over care for the elderly. The government's new system for nursing care for people in England came in this week.

It means some elderly people will get as little as £35 a week towards their care home bills after a means test. The most someone will get is £110 weekly, while the cost of nursing care ranges from £125 to at least £400 a week.

The system is 'unfair, unworkable and a broken promise to the older population', said a coalition of 14 charities including Help the Aged and Age Concern. Moreover, the government is refusing to help those who need 'personal care', such as washing, help with meals or dressing.

This is despite the Royal Commission on long term care's recommendation that all types of care should be free. In Scotland the Scottish Executive has agreed to fund both personal and nursing care.

HEALTH SECRETARY Alan Milburn launched plans last week to allow 'super-hospitals' to hold shares in private companies and set up their own businesses. The top ranked hospital trusts will be allowed to bid for a 'franchise' to run hospitals branded as 'failing'.

This will create a two-tier system and mark an even greater step towards a corporate health service. And the government is pushing ahead with its invitation to corporations to make profits from health through PFI schemes.

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Mon 1 Oct 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1769
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