Funding for long-term NHS care costs for the elderly has been subject to “procrastination and delay”, according to former Tory health secretary Stephen Dorrell.

And he demanded to know when the Government would “deliver on the action that the Prime Minister promised 11.5 years ago”.

He said that Tony Blair pledged action in a speech to the Labour party conference in 1997, but “since then we’ve had the Wanless review, the zero-based review, several comprehensive spending reviews and a Royal Commission. We have had no action”.

Commons leader Harriet Harman, standing in for the Prime Minister during question time, said that a pending Government Green Paper would be an “important next step” and denied they had taken no action.

She said: “Since we’ve been in government we have recognised the importance of family care … and that’s why we brought in the right to request flexible working for those caring for older relatives.

“We’ve increased resources for the health services … and for social services, so there is domiciliary care available. It is absolutely not true to say we have made no progress over the last 10 years.”