Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Social care; progress?

Well , progress , of sorts. The White Paper on Social Care , out today at least establishes the principle of a cap on care costs. This was the core of the Dilnot report. however principles ,whilst useful I'm sure don't cut the mustard unless we know the actual figure.
I smell the dead hand of the Treasury. An accountant's short term approach which looks at costs now , whilst ignoring savings long term. The Treasury have traditionally been the barrier to reform. And we must resist attempts to tax the elderly for this change by removing long and hard fought for benefits like free public transport of file allowances. If we need to pay for a cap , then let's tax bankers bonuses , not the small but great benefit of a free TV licence for the over 75 s.

Let the HMT remember there is a cost to the health service by not progressing this reform. And there is a cost to individuals , and their families by failing to implement the Dilnot recommendation of a 35k cap now.

Of course there are other excellent parts of this White Paper. From 2015 there will be a national standard setting out who is entitled to help at home and residential care places.

At the moment, each of the 152 councils in England can set its own eligibility criteria for care for the elderly and disabled.this has led to great inequity and has caused charities many problems trying to make up the shortfalls of stingy councils.

Those who face the largest costs will also be able to defer payment until after their death.

This loan scheme, which is already available in some areas, means those who need to go into care homes and are not entitled to state funding - anyone with assets of more than £23,250 does not get help - will have their fees paid for and then recovered from their estate.Interest would accumulate on the loan.

Of course reform of social care has dogged many Governments and this is a step forward by DH. That must be welcomed. But the failure to sort the cap is deeply disappointing to ACEVO members who have fought hard for this.

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