Thank you, Mr President.

I thank the Health and Social Care Minister and the Health and Care Transformation Programme for bringing this motion before the Court today. 

Funding of residential, nursing and home care costs now and in the future is a major concern for many island residents, especially for those individuals and their families that are having to use up their own hard earned savings or are having to sell significant assets to fund care that is undertaken at home or to pay for nursing and residential care under the current arrangements. 

I think the majority of island residents want to see this Manx Government introduce a significant change in policy around residential, nursing and home care costs, which also delivers a fairer and sustainable system…

…..and a system that also allows an individual to have some form of asset protection guaranteed in the future, and I hope more than the £13,000 that is disregarded and has no effect on their entitlement at the moment. 

The two options that we are being asked to consider, support and to take forward here today are not new ideas, but are from a suite of options that were originally discussed and voted on back in July 2018. 

Therefore this particular issue should have been significantly further forward than we are here today…..

….and I sincerely hope that any changes in policy can be fully implemented before the end of this particular administration, because previous consultations and public meetings have all demanded a change in policy, and for a policy that is fair to all. 

That said, we all have to acknowledge that there are no easy answers or solutions to how we fund and pay for nursing & residential care today or in the future….

…and as a Community we have to accept the fact that as a society we are living longer, and therefore more of us will need care in our own homes or will require nursing and residential care in the future, and for a longer period of time than previous generations….

….and that will have significant costs attached, and it will also require further investment in infrastructure, services and property. 

As was highlighted in the July 2018 report into funding nursing & residential care, private nursing homes on the island are able to charge what the market will bear, and on many occasions family members are left to top up financial payments on behalf of other elderly family members….

…if we are to introduce a fairer system, then I feel the Department and the Government will have to work more closely with private nursing and residential care home providers, in order to introduce regulation around these particular costs, because at the moment, as the report highlights, far too many families and individuals have serious concerns around financial uncertainty when a family member moves into nursing or residential care. 

Mr President, 

The paper being discussed today gives two options: 

The first option looks at “free personal care”, which offers care at no charge regardless of someone’s level of income or assets, and this particular model is already in place in Scotland. 

When the Scottish model was rolled out there was a significant increase of over 160% between 2003 and 2011 in respect of spending on personal care, but during the same period of time the over-65 population in Scotland only increased by 9%. 

In the current financial environment here on the island, is this really a valid option for consideration and for taking forward with everything else going on around us at the moment? 

I would certainly hate for the Minister moving this motion and for this Court to give false hope to those individuals desperately asking for change, and for a system that is fair to all…  

With an ageing population I do have to seriously question the overall cost of the scheme in the future if introduced, and this particular point is highlighted very clearly in the 2018 report. 

That said, if the Treasury Minister wants to confirm here today that we have the finances available to support this particular initiative, then I will certainly fully support the option on behalf of my Constituents. 

The other option creates a bespoke model to meet local demand, which will be based on a threshold and financial caps….

….and is designed to protect the family home, which will be good news for many island residents. 

I know we are still at a very early stage of this particular policy, which I am also happy to support at this initial stage, but I do have some concerns or questions around the summary information in Section 5 of the report. 

I was wondering if the Minister in his response could confirm that the figure of £67,380 for a single person and £101,070 for a couple is a maximum figure that an individual or couple will have to pay for personal care over their lifetime. 

If that information is correct at what point would the costs start to be calculated….?

Is it when an individual retires, or is it when someone starts to receive care in their own home, or when an individual moves into nursing or residential care? And what systems will the Department and Manx Care be implementing, in order to ensure that no one overpays during their lifetime….?

In September 2021, the UK government published a paper on building a better Health and Social Care system, and this particular paper is very clear when it states that no one will pay more that £86,000 for personal care over their lifetime.  

However, a lot more detail is required on this particular model, but it is certainly a step in the right direction, and I look forward to receiving more information in due course. 

In closing, the paper outlines a plan to engage with the public on the options in the autumn, but I can’t see a date in which the Department will be coming back to this Court with an update – I hope the Minister can provide an update on that particular point.  

Thank you, Mr President.