Council calls for creation of national care service

Councillors in Gateshead have called on the government to create a National Care Service, that would work alongside the National Health Service, to end the current 'care crisis'.

Gateshead Council has called on the government to fully fund the introduction of free personal care, with Michael McNestry, Gateshead's cabinet member for Adult Social Care, saying England's care system was in desperate need of reform.

Since 2010, the government had forced Gateshead Council to find savings of £38 million on adult social care, despite rising demand for care services and rising costs. This is reflective of the national picture. Last year, Gateshead Council spent more than £66m providing adult social care services to more than 2,600 people.

McNestry said: "It is fundamentally unfair that to access basic care many older people face catastrophic costs that can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, wiping out a lifetime of savings and forcing some families to sell their homes. We need a long-term sustainable funding solution that will make essential care free at the point of use.

"There is an unacceptable gap between NHS care which is free at the point of delivery, and social care which is means-tested. Making social care free would close that gap and would make it much easier to integrate the delivery of health and social care services."

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