"The evidence shows that something has to change. The social care sector in particular needs to receive proper support from central government and ensuring the integration of health and social care services and providing incentives to deliver improved outcomes over the long term, to ensure that it is properly equipped for the rising demand for its services and is able to give the support required to families and carers who may be looking after a loved one.

"Changes have been recommended to employment practices and pension schemes, but these do not address the core of the issue, which is that sufficient time has not been given to prepare for a situation that we know has been coming for decades. Flexible hours and retraining schemes will go some way to help the middle-aged build a sufficient nest egg for their retirement, however this does not address the funding and resource issue that health and social care organisations are facing, and will continue to face.

"The key message that has emerged from this report is that we need to plan ahead, and I hope that key decision-makers in central government will pay attention and act accordingly."