Simon Knighton, chief executive of the Expert Patient Programme Community Interest Company, said: ‘The existing system of care is clearly unsustainable given the UK's rapidly aging population and we welcome Mr Burnham's announcement regarding proposed changes in this area.
‘For too long now people living with long-term mental and physical health conditions have effectively been penalised and in many cases compelled to sell their homes and their possessions to fund their care.
‘Our concerns primarily lie around suggestions that could see voluntary or compulsory ‘insurance' schemes introduced. This is simply not an option for those living with long-term mental and physical health conditions - many of whom may have been living on a low income for many years already and would struggle to pay this type of contribution.
‘In the worst case scenario this could lead to a two-tier system of care where the most vulnerable are left even more exposed than they are at the present time.
‘To the cynical, and given how close we are to a general election, this could be seen as an attempt to score political points using a very serious issue which can only be addressed effectively if political differences are set aside and all parties work together.'
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