Britain must solve its social care crisis if “any good” is to come from the coronavirus pandemic, the boss of NHS England has warned.
Plans to adequately fund the service need to be in place within a year, Sir Simon Stevens also said.
He told BBC's The Andrew Marr Show the coronavirus pandemic had shone a "very harsh" spotlight on the resilience of the social care system.
He said: "And if any good is to come from this, in my opinion, we must use this to resolve once and for all to actually properly resource and reform the way in which social care works in this country.
"The reality is that after at least two decades of talking about it, we do not have a fair and properly resourced adult social care system with a proper set of workforce supports."
He said he hoped that by the time the UK was celebrating the NHS's 73rd birthday, a year from now, "that we have actually, as a country, been able to decisively answer the question of how are we going to fund and provide high-quality social care for my parent's generation."
Sir Simon conceded that the solution would be expensive and possibly controversial.
But he drew a parallel with the creation of the NHS after the end of the Second World War.
At a time of rationing and amid great uncertainty about what the UK’s post war reconstruction would look like the founders of the NHS “did not use that as a moment to hesitate”, he said.
Instead they said “let one of the legacies of the war be the creation of the NHS. That's the same legacy we need for long-term care and support in social care coming out of coronavirus.”