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National Care Service a “historic opportunity” - Nurses

Published: 14 July 2009

For immediate release: Tuesday 14th July 2009

National Care Service a "historic opportunity" - Nurses

Welcoming the publication of the Government Green Paper, Shaping the future of care together, Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said the current social care system was "confusing, bewildering and unacceptable" and that today's plans provide "a historic opportunity to establish fair care under the welfare system in England." He said:

"Today's plans offer a historic opportunity to establish a fair social care system where people understand what care they are entitled to and how to access it. The current system is confusing, bewildering and unacceptable, with people unclear about how care is funded and a care 'lottery' operating across the country.

"The NHS is responsible for funding the nursing care of patients who have health needs, regardless of whether they are in hospital, a care home or their own home. We would fiercely oppose a system where responsibility for meeting the costs of nursing care was shifted onto the patient and subject to means-testing when it should be free on the NHS.

"We will be looking at the detail of today's paper to see what could be included in the care package.  While we welcome the commitment to basic universal entitlements we are concerned that 'basic' can also mean 'very limited'. 

"We congratulate the government for tackling this issue head on. Social care must not be turned into political football over the coming months. Future generations will depend on the right decisions being taken now."

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Notes to Editors

For further information, interviews or illustrations please contact the RCN Media Office on 0207 647 3633, press.office@rcn.org.uk or visit http://www.rcn.org.uk/newsevents/media

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK and is the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. The RCN promotes the interest of nurses, healthcare assistants and patients on a wide range of issues and helps shape healthcare policy by working closely with the UK Government and other national and international institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations.