Research report
3 Dec 2012

This analysis by the London School of Economics, commissioned by the Nuffield Trust, projects expenditure on social care and health care for older people in England from 2010 to 2022.

Summary


Key charts from a study looking into projected future expenditure for the care of older people

Social care is crucial to the welfare of many older people. Meeting the need for social care is set to be more challenging in the decades to come, as the population continues to age and public expenditure is constrained.

This study of projected public expenditure on social care and continuing health care for people aged 65 and over in England was carried out for the Nuffield Trust by the Personal Social Service Research Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The aim of the Personal Social Service Research Unit modelling is to provide information to help policy-makers develop policies for reform of the financing system for social care and supportRaphael Wittenberg, Personal Social Services Research Unit, report co-author

The key findings outlined in this report are:

  • The number of older people with moderate or severe disabilities is projected to increase by 32 per cent, and public expenditure on social care and continuing health care for older people by 37 per cent between 2010 and 2022, assuming that current patterns of care and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) principal population projections keep pace with expected demographic and unit cost pressures.
  • Total expenditure on social care will vary with life expectancy. If life expectancy rises at the lower rate indicated by the ONS, the number of people with moderate or severe disabilities is projected to rise by 30 per cent, with public expenditure on social care and continuing health care rising by 35 per cent in real terms between 2010 and 2022. If life expectancy rises at the higher rate, the number of people with moderate or severe disabilities would rise by 34 per cent, with expenditure rising by 40 per cent.
  • In addition, if rates of chronic disease continue to rise in line with recent trends, the number of older people with moderate or severe disabilities is projected to increase by 54 per cent, and public expenditure on social care and continuing health care for older people to increase by 56 per cent between 2010 and 2022.
  • The net public expenditure on social care and continuing health care for older people is projected to rise from £9.3 billion in real terms (0.74 per cent of GDP) in 2010 to £12.7 billion (0.78 per cent of GDP) in 2022, assuming that current patterns of care and the ONS principal population projections keep pace with expected demographic and unit cost pressures.

The findings in this report are drawn upon in another Nuffield Trust research report and summary:  A decade of austerity? The funding pressures facing the NHS from 2010/11 to 2021/22 (December 2012), which discusses the implications of these projections for policy development.

Care for older people: projected expenditure to 2022 on social care and continuing health care for England’s older population, is part of the Nuffield Trust’s wider programme of work: Buying time: what is the scale of the financial challenge facing the NHS and how can it be met?

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