Policy clarification on health secretary’s speech on care of elderly relatives (18/10/2013). James Hunt the health service minister surprised his audience today by appearing to announce a new radical policy on the care of elderly people.
There are more people, lots more people, living longer and the country can’t afford it. These people are some ones mother or father and if they can no longer look after themselves then their children should take them in. This is what happens in other parts of the world. The health secretary has been informed by his Chinese wife that in Asia elders are “revered and respected”. There is no reason why the state should replace the family claimed the heath minister. He went on to say families are the best carers and the problems of neglect and abuse in institutions would be greatly reduced if elderly people were care for by their daughter and sons. He asserted that not only did families have a moral obligation to care but that such a shift would be good for the economy as the building trade would be boosted by the need to build granny flats. He informed his audience that Eric Pickles the local government minister had assured him planning regulations would be relaxed. The health secretary said he realised that not every family lived close to their elderly parents and so the government was in discussions with local authorities to organise a national exchange system. The idea would be that you would agree to take in an elderly person living in your area and in return a family living near your mother would agree for her to live with them. The health secretary assured his audience that the government has no intension of restricting choice so if your mother wishes to go into private residential care she will be able to do so in much the same way as people chose to sent their children to public schools or entre a private health care scheme. In future the state will not pay for elderly people to go into residential care but will of course fund nursing home places for those who would otherwise block hospital beds.
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