Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has committed to implementing the Dilnot proposals to cap social care costs at £35,000 per individual, but has yet to confirm a timescale.
Addressing the Conservative Party Conference in his inaugural speech as health secretary, Mr Hunt said: 'We need to face up to some hard truths about how we are going to pay for social care...We also want to go further and implement the Dilnot cap on social care costs as soon as we are able.'
He promised to create 'an NHS and social care system fit for an ageing population', also promising that by the next election, the UK would be 'among the best in Europe' at dealing with dementia.
Health charity The King's Fund, welcomed the Dilnot confirmation but demanded clarification. Anna Dixon, director of policy said: 'To meet the needs of older people, improving care in the NHS must go hand-in-hand with reform of social care. So, while we welcome the commitment to implementing the Dilnot proposals, details on how this will be paid for and a timetable for implementation are urgently needed.'
On the issue of 'mismanagement' in the NHS, Mr Hunt said he had asked the DH and CQC how to ensure managers are held accountable for the care they provide. 'I need to say to all managers: you will be held responsible for the care in your establishments. You wouldn't expect to keep your job if you lost control of your finances. Don't expect to keep it if you lose control of your care.'
Meanwhile, speaking at Labour's party conference this month, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham pledged to repeal the Health Act if Labour returned to power. He said: 'I must repeal Cameron's market and restore the legal basis of a national, democratically-accountable, collaborative health service.'