LTC sector leaders issue plea to Parliament

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Leaders of the long-term care (LTC) private sector have urged the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Labour leader to work together to build a consensus on how to fund care.

They warned that delaying reforms ‘was no longer an option' and advised that the present setup could deteriorate further without integration of health and social care services.

Mark Ellerby, head of Bupa Care Services, was joined by colleagues from charities, the Local Government Association and think tanks in writing to the political leaders regarding the ‘over-burdened system'.

The letter coincides with reports of significant problems at the UK's largest private care home operator, Southern Cross.

It called the reform of funding for long-term care ‘one of the most difficult and challenging policy issues confronting England' and added that it was something ‘governments of all colours have struggled to agree an answer'.

‘But delay is no longer an option,' it continued. ‘As a number of recent reports have highlighted, the increased pressure on public finances is pushing an already over‐burdened system to breaking point.

‘And without further integration between health and social care services this picture could worsen. It is frail, older people who will suffer unless the issue is resolved.

‘We, the co‐signed, are urging all political parties to respond to the independent Dilnot Commission's report in a measured process of debate and work to build a consensus on the solution and therefore look forward to working with you and your team as this urgent reform is taken forward this Parliament.'

The problems at Southern Cross peaked when the company announced it was holding on to 30% of its monthly rent payments from 1 June to 30 September 2011.

This, it said, was ‘designed to create a 'summer platform' during which the company and its key stakeholders can agree an appropriate restructuring of the company's affairs'.

Earlier this year Southern Cross released a statement saying that due to local authority budget cuts, rent obligations had become unsustainable and it was planning to seek concessions from landlords.

It is feared that if the company cannot agree these concessions from its landlords, some of the 31,000 residents could be evicted or loose their care.

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