We're calling for a commission on the future of the NHS and social care
Why is bold action needed?
The UK is set to undergo significant demographic challenges in the coming years. People will continue to live longer; although this is something to be celebrated, it also means there will be more people living with numerous complex health and care needs, sometimes for many years.
Nearly a quarter of the population will be over the age of 65 in just over 20 years’ time, and there will be about an extra 100,000 deaths each year. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has warned that, by 2025, there will be 1 million more people living with life-threatening conditions.
The number of people able and willing to provide unpaid care for family members when they become ill, disabled or frail is not predicted to increase in line with rising levels of need.
By next year, more people are expected to need unpaid care than there are people willing to provide it.
How will future care needs be met?
Our recent report, The hidden costs of caring, explored the evidence about who will provide care in the future and found that this crisis in care will be acutely felt by people living with a terminal illness and their carers, many of whom are older people themselves.
Although the Spending Review in November ring-fenced the NHS budget and announced measures that will allow local authorities to raise more money for social care, it remains to be seen if this is really adequate to meet these rising levels of need.
Everyone with a terminal illness has the right to high quality palliative care when they need it, and it is critical that their family and carers are given proper support. Unfortunately, we know that the system is already failing some people.
Bold action, based on an honest and serious consideration of how care is funded, is therefore needed urgently to make sure services are fit for purpose now and in the future.
Read more about our policy work