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Elderly care must become the responsibility of the families says a former health minister

Date: (2 August 2012)    |    

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Lord Darzi, and health policy expert who was Gordon Brown’s health minister said that families need to ensure care for their elderly relatives and get the care they needed rather than completely relying on the NHS and local councils.

He said that the state should demand people take greater responsibility for the health and social care of themselves and their families.

He also added that family members who care for older relatives should be supported with greater financial help from the state.
He made his comments at the first Global Health Policy Summit in London’s Guildhall for international politicians and policy makers.
His opinion has followed weeks after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley published a White Paper saying people would have to share the cost of long-term care with the state.
He had said that he was committed to the idea of a cap on the amount a family would have to contribute, but said there was not enough money in the coffers for the state to pay the full cost.
In his speech, Lord Darzi told delegates that all health systems, including the NHS, faced pressures from the ageing society. He said global health reformers should not be afraid to step beyond the boundaries of health.
The society together must take unto itself and find solution to the questions which arise out of things that cannot be controlled.
He added that a greater demand for personal and family responsibility for health and care had to be raised and along side better ways to support carers had to be found, in employment, housing and financial support.’
It was reported yesterday that in an earlier draft of his speech, Lord Darzi had gone even further. He planned to warn that ‘social and demographic changes’, such as the increased rate of family break-ups, may result in fewer potential carers.
He also planned to point out that in France and India, for example, adult children have legal and financial obligations towards their elderly parents. In the delivered version of the speech, he said patients must get used to the fact they may not always be treated by the best qualified doctor available, but by the most appropriately qualified.
The focus was to place highly qualified staff where they were needed the most and patients needed to embrace the changed reality. If best use of the doctors were not made then the system would collapse he said.