Warning that elderly could suffer
Elderly and frail people will suffer unless the three major political parties can agree on care reforms, an alliance of organisations has warned.
In an open letter to David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, the group of charities, think-tanks and councils said "delay is no longer an option".
Signed by chiefs from public and private sector organisations including the charity Age UK, the Local Government Organisation and Bupa, it urged the leaders to reach a consensus on a system that is reaching "breaking point".
Last month it emerged that spending on adult social care is to be slashed by around £1 billion this year as councils struggle to cope with budget cuts at a time of increased need.
The scale of the shortfall was laid bare in a survey for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), which was completed by 98% of local authorities involved.
The letter comes about a month before a report examining the future for care provision is published, as the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, chaired by Andrew Dilnot, is due to report its findings to the Government in July.
Published in the Daily Telegraph, the letter said: "The reform of funding for older people's long-term care and for younger people with disabilities remains one of the most difficult and challenging policy issues confronting England.
"For over a decade, governments of all colours have struggled to agree an answer. But delay is no longer an option. As a number of recent reports have highlighted, the increased pressure on public finances is pushing an already over-burdened system to breaking point.
"And without further integration between health and social care services this picture could worsen. It is frail, older people who will suffer unless the issue is resolved.
"We, the co-signed, are urging all political parties to respond to the independent Commission's report in a measured process of debate and work to build a consensus on the solution."