Gap in Funding Labelled Dementia TaxNovember 20, 2017
A report published by the London School of Economics and King’s College London has revealed that dementia sufferers and their families fund two thirds of their health and social care costs, with only a third of costs paid for by local councils or the NHS. The gap in funding has been labelled a ‘Dementia Tax’ by the Alzheimer’s Society, who highlight the disparity between the funding for dementia care and that of cancer and heart disease. The tax equates to an average of £21,322 per patient per year, with only £10,784 paid for by the NHS and local councils.
Despite saving the government £11.6 billion a year, unpaid care provided by spouses or children continues to unfairly cover the gap created by a lack of funding. The report found that 43 per cent of sufferers who were cared for by a friend or relative reported that their carer received no help with their caring role. The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that there are over 670,000 primary carers to dementia sufferers in the UK, emphasising the financial and emotional impact of providing full-time care. They warn that a lack of commitment to a comprehensive support plan for carers will mean that ‘an increasing number will be unable to continue caring, and pressure on the long term care system will be immense’.
The report also highlighted the issue of living standards and well-being for people living with dementia, finding that only 58 per cent of people living with dementia report to be living well, whilst two-thirds of sufferers reported feelings of anxiety and depression.
In response to the report, the Alzheimer’s Society has called for ‘serious funding commitments to put social care on a sustainable footing’. The UK’s ageing population means that the number of dementia sufferers in the UK is set to increase, and could reach 2 million by 2051 if such commitments are not made.
Kerry Brundall, specialist wills and probate solicitor based at Macks’ Redcar office said: “Every day I see family members struggling to care for someone with dementia. These carers are often elderly and in poor health themselves yet they receive very little, if any, support either financially or on a practical level. I fully endorse the view of the Alzheimer’s Society that there is insufficient funding for this silent and largely unrecognised section of our society.”
This evening at 8pm Channel 4 Dispatches investigate the so-called ‘Dementia Tax’ asking why some families are required to sell their homes to pay for care where other families are entitled to NHS funds.