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Care system "creaking at the seams"

Britons are facing a healthcare "timebomb" because current care systems cannot cope with the number of elderly, the health secretary said.

Average life expectancy has risen from 66 in 1948 to 78 now, and half of men and two thirds of women will need residential care, according to Department of Health figures.

There are now more people aged over 65 then under 18 in this country, yet a department survey found that 26% of people expect the government to pay for their care, not realising support is means-tested.

Anyone with assets worth more than £23,000 has to pay some of their care costs, which averages at £30,000 for a 65-year-old but can be much higher. A dementia sufferer could incur up to £200,000 in costs.

Mr Burnham said: "The current care system is creaking at the seams and can't cope. We're proposing a National Care Service - a system that is simple, fair and affordable for everyone.

"We know that people worry about getting old but many don't realise they might have to foot a large bill if they need care. I don't want people to worry about affording care - that's why we're revolutionising the care and support system."

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Department of Health

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"This so true. But the worrying thing is that despite announcements like this, in my area adult social care departments  continue to close residential care beds claiming to be able to support more people at home. I was unable to get an urgent placement for an elderly lady who was crawling around her excrement soaked floor and had to send her to A&E as she did not meet adult social care criteria" - Liam Stephens, UK