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BLAIR BACKS FREE NURSING CARE FOR AGED

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Tony Blair has given personal support to a radical Royal Commission recommendation that all elderly people receive ...
Tony Blair has given personal support to a radical Royal Commission recommendation that all elderly people receive free nursing-home care regardless of their bank balance, according to The Independent on Sunday (p1).

The scheme will mean that elderly people with health problems will no longer have to sell their houses to go into care, or deplete their savings to pay for more supervision. They will merely be asked to pay a 'nominal' fee for board and lodging. However, pensioners living in residential homes where nursing care is not provided, will still have to meet their accomodation and subsistence costs.

At present, those with savings or a house worth more than£16,000 have to pay hundreds of pounds a week in fees if they require nursing care.

In addition, ministers will be advised by the commission that many of the charges imposed on old people for local authority care should be scaled down. These include charges for help in dressing, bathing or

feeding in their own homes.

The royal commission, set up by the government to review how long-term care for the elderly is paid for, will recommend that an extra£290m be found to pay for nursing care in old people's homes.

The total bill for the commission's proposals, to be published next month, could exceed£800m.

The royal commission will call for legal safeguards to prevent employers discriminating against job applicants on grounds of age. It also wants to change building regulations to make them more

'grey-friendly': for example, sockets in newly-built houses should be positioned further up the wall and stairs should have shorter risers. The report, which wants a 'grey Tsar' to be established to champion

older people's rights, will propose that all able, elderly people have access to training on the internet.

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