Posts Tagged ‘Dilnot commission’

Why is the government delaying on social care?

12/07/2012, 07:00:39 AM

by Peter Watt

It may have been a dream once, but free social care for adults who need it is not going to happen.  The majority of adults in this group are aged over 65, about 1 million of them.  The state does not currently pay for all of their care and so many have to pay some or all of their costs.  The reality is that whoever is in government in the future, this situation is only going to get more difficult.

Right now, if you think that you need social care then the local authority has to carry out an assessment of your needs and then and assessment of your finances.  Firstly they see if you are sufficiently impaired so that you need help and then they decide if you or they have to pay.

Increasingly though, the thresholds being used by councils to decide if you are sufficiently impaired are being raised; it means that the numbers of people that they have to provide help to can be reduced along with their costs.  But it doesn’t mean that the needs are less!

So many people who need help with washing, cooking, dressing, and so on have to pay someone to do it.  And similarly many people who need to go into residential care have to pay.  Essentially if you have savings of less than £14,250 then care at home is free; between that point and £23,250 the costs are shared and after that you’re on your own.

If you need residential care and own your house then, unless your partner is continuing to live there, then you will probably have to sell your house to pay for your care.  Quite frankly the situation is a nightmare for hundreds of thousands of families.  You don’t think about it until it is too late; you don’t know what it is you may have to pay for and you don’t know for how long you will have to pay!

The result is that 800,000 older people are going without the care that they need or are relying on friends and family, whilst a further 500,000 are paying for their own care.

But the answer is not to pretend that somehow it can all be solved just by throwing money at the problem.  Or that it is all the fault of the government and cuts.  Labour had 13 years to solve it and didn’t; we don’t have the money and quite simply we’re not going to have it.

The need to reduce our structural deficit means that there are hard choices to be made by this government and the next.  The fact is that many older people do in fact have the resources that mean that they can contribute to their care.


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Where’s the social care in the health and social care bill?

23/03/2011, 03:00:23 PM

by Peter Watt

There has been, rightly, an awful lot of attention given to the government’s health and social care bill. It proposes opening up the delivery of NHS services to any willing provider and the introduction, in some instances, of competition on the basis of price rather than outcome. Controversial stuff. Especially as the Conservatives promised no “top down reorganisation” during the election.

But there is one aspect of the bill that hasn’t been much commented on. It is misleadingly named. It is a “health” bill, certainly, but it is not a “social care” bill at all. This is not a pedantic point. The bill does not cover the social care system, which provides care and support to hundreds of thousands of people across the country in their homes and in residential settings. Last year, social care cost the state in the region of £27 billion. And individual families billions more on top. Many people do not realise that social care, unlike health, is not universally free.

Basically, if you have assets of more than £23,500 then you have to pay. If you become old and infirm, and need help staying at home, you will probably pay. If you need to move into a residential home, you will probably pay. With the average cost of a room in a nursing home at £36,000 pa, it won’t come cheap. (more…)

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