DoH launches debate on social care future

The DoH is to launch a public debate on the future of social care and support services in England, health secretary Alan Johnson announced.

Over the next six months, the DoH will be asking the public at a series of regional events for their views on care and support to create a new social care system that promotes independence and ensures that everyone receives high quality care.

Speaking at the launch of the social care consultation in central London yesterday, Mr Johnson said that the DoH needed to reform the social care system because ‘the current system is simply not sustainable and cannot support the rapidly ageing population of England'.

Without reform, the social care system in England faces a £6 billion shortfall within the next 20 years.

The findings of the public debate will be used to inform a Green Paper on the reform options due for release in early 2009.

To coincide with the launch of the social care consultation, Mr Johnson also announced the start of a £31 million programme to test the potential of telecare - technologies based in the home such as movement sensors, fall alarms and gas monitors - to help monitor people's health.

The pilot is being rolled out across Kent, Cornwall and Newham in east London, where the elderly and people with complex health problems such as diabetes and heart conditions will use the technology.

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