A commission has been launched to consider whether the current health and social care system is fit for purpose.
Health think tank The King’s Fund aims to uncover whether the model, established in 1948, could be better aligned to meet the needs of 21st century patients.
The review will re-examine the settlement which established an NHS which is free at the point of use, with social care as separate and means-tested.
Chris Ham, King’s Fund chief executive said: “The NHS and social care system have remained separate since their inception in 1948. Sixty-five years on, the needs of patients and service-users have changed and the world is a very different place.
“The time has come to return to first principles and ask whether the current arrangements are fit for purpose.”
Kate Barker, a fomer member of the Bank of England’s monetary committee, who will chair the commission said: “The issues we will be considering go to the very heart of the debate about how best to organise health and social care.
"I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners to consider whether, and if so how, the current settlement should be re-shaped to meet better the needs of 21st century patients and service-users.”
An interim report will be published early next year and a final report in September 2014, before the next General Election.