CSA Press Release: Response to ADASS survey of social care budgets (02 July 2014)

Today the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have released their influential annual survey of social care budgets: http://www.adass.org.uk/social-care-services-unsustainable-adass/

The survey shows the continuing significant impact of budget reductions on the social care sector.  The survey shows that:

- Taking into account increasing need, there has been a 26% reduction in social care budgets over the last four years;

- This amounts to over £3.5 billion savings from adult social care;

- Nearly 50% of Directors of Adult Social Care think that fewer people will be able to access care services in 2015-16.

Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said:

“Every day we hear from older and disabled people who are going without the support they need to get up, get dressed and get out of the house. This is also putting unbearable pressure on family carers.

“Councils are now warning that chronic underfunding will only make this situation worse.

“The new Care Act is bold and ambitious.  But delivering on it is dependent on putting the social care system on a sustainable financial footing.

“The Better Care Fund is an important step towards integrating health and social care, and can play a big part in the solution.

“But as today’s figures show, this must be accompanied by a long term funding commitment for social care by the Government.”

CSA Press Release: Response to Public Accounts Committee Report on Adult Social Care (10 July 2014)

On 10 July, the Public Accounts Committee published a report expressing concern over the care reforms.

The Committee said that the Government “does not fully understand” the scale of the problems faced by local councils and care providers in looking after increasing numbers of elderly and disabled people despite funding cuts.

Their report found that the Care Act reforms are “risky, are not supported by new money, and do not acknowledge the scale of the problem” and calls for a more “realistic timetable” for implementation.

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said that “we are facing a great adult social care squeeze, with need for care growing while public funding is falling.”

The report: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news/adult-social-care-substantive/

News coverage in the Belfast Telegraph: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/uk/mps-concerned-over-care-reforms-30420888.html

Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said:

“This is the third warning in a week that the care system is on its knees.

“Every day our 75 organisations hear horror stories of older and disabled people who struggle to get the support they need to simply get up, get dressed and get out of the house.

“This is putting unbearable pressure on family carers – as well as older and disabled people themselves.

“The new Care Act is a bold and ambitious bid to address the crisis – it will end the postcode lottery, ensure carers get more support, and promote wellbeing and personalised support.

“At the same time, Better Care Fund plans to integrate health and social care move us closer towards a preventive system that keeps people out of hospital and out of crisis-care.

“But sitting behind this is a bigger picture of chronic underfunding, which has led to a dramatic year-on-year rationing of care.

“The Care Act, with its emphasis on prevention, is a vital part of the solution, but the government must act now to put the social care system on a sustainable financial footing.”

 

CSA members respond to Government’s proposed eligibility criteria for social care (06 June 2014)

The Government has today published its proposals for who will and who won’t get social care from 2015 under the new Care Act, with new national criteria for social care eligibility.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/care-act-2014-launch-of-care-and-support-consultation

CSA members have been responding to the announcement.

Sense: Threshold for social care “far too high”

National deafblind charity Sense today (06 June) warned that many older and disabled people will miss out on services they desperately need, following the Government’s publication of a consultation on who is eligible for social care under the new Care Act.

Richard Kramer, Deputy Chief Executive at Sense, said:

“The Care Act is an incredible opportunity for politicians to finally get social care right in the UK. However, under the regulations released today the threshold for people to become eligible for social care is set far too high. As a result, many older and disabled people will miss out on the services they desperately need for day-to-day life. It is also vital that the Government releases enough funds for local authorities to provide the right level of support for what is currently a chronically underfunded system. Otherwise the Care Act will be built on sand.

“Inadequate social care has a knock on effect and results in further demands on the NHS. For example, the deafblind people we support can become more susceptible to falls or require hospital treatment because they didn’t get the support they needed from social care.

“Sense will be responding to the consultation and aiming to ensure that the steps forward made in the Act are not lost.”

British Red Cross

In response to the publication of national levels of eligibility for care today (06 June), British Red Cross managing director of operations, Mike Adamson, said:

“It is clear to us and the 400,000 people we support every year that getting the right care at the right time is crucial to the quality of life of older and vulnerable people in this country.

“Yet the Government’s eligibility regulations as they currently stand mean that from 2015, hundreds of thousands of people who need care risk not getting any state-funded support. This includes people who need assistance to get out and about, manage their finances and shopping, and even communicate with relatives, friends and colleagues.

“Although the Care Act’s focus on prevention is a welcome ambition, it will not be enough to support these people. Funding for prevention is already limited and there is simply not enough to cover everyone who is ineligible for care. Indeed, our own research shows that less than a quarter (23%) of Councillors think the Act will have a positive impact on constituents with low-level needs.

“Yet adequate support can make the difference between a fulfilling life in which someone can participate in society or a complete loss of independence.

“A system which truly promotes wellbeing, prevention and integration will need the Government to be bold and to ensure that funding reaches the right parts of the health and social care system. This may mean challenging ways of working and vested interests to release cash from one part to another. Without adequate funding in the right places, there is a real risk of jeopardising the Care Bill’s good intentions.”

The British Red Cross provides health and social care services to 400,000 people in the UK every year, providing low-level, high impact support at home, transport to and from hospital and loans of mobility aids.

It is a member of the Care and Support Alliance, a consortium of 75 organisations that represent and support older and disabled people, and campaigns to keep adult care funding and reform on the political agenda.

Midland Heart

Commenting on the Government’s publication of a consultation on who is eligible for social care under the new Care Act, Ruth Cooke CEO Midland Heart calls for the sector to think differently:

“How can we make sure that the growing number of vulnerable over 65’s get the improved outcomes they need?

“The challenge for the Government is funding.  Councils are having to reduce their care budgets, which could limit the essential services that maximise independence for older vulnerable people.  Vital services that allow people to live their lives with dignity and respect and that can prevent an individual ending up in acute A&E.

“The challenge to the sector is to fundamentally change. I believe that this change can only begin when we break free of silo mentalities and the common belief that what we currently do is right.  We know there is an appetite to join up housing and health – our Cedarwood reablement service is an example of integration.  How can we make services like this the norm and not the exception?

“Health leaders need to be given time to explore new approaches to drive change at a very local level, to be intrepid and look beyond the rules and structures from the past that are limiting us now, to succeed in developing a truly integrated care system built around the people that need it.”

Independent Age

Andrew Kaye, Head of Policy at Independent Age says:

“The Care Act is a bold and welcome piece of legislation. However, the fine aspirations behind this change in the law need to be backed up by realistic levels of funding. The promise of the Care Act to promote individual wellbeing risks being undermined unless local authorities are properly funded to meet the needs of an ageing population. We estimate for example that the residential care sector alone could be under-funded by around £700 million a year.

“This three-month consultation provides us with a vital opportunity to strengthen the rules governing who gets charged what for their care. We want to see more protection for older people and their relatives so they don’t unwittingly pay more for their care home fees than they need to. Too many families feel they have no other option than to ‘top up’ care home fees and pay for care they cannot afford.

“We want to see more transparency in the system so people only pay a top-up through choice, not necessity.

“We are concerned that the flagship reform – a ‘cap’, or financial limit on the costs an individual has to pay for their own care – won’t really cap all the costs a typical person might face in residential care. We also know that only 8% of men aged 85 and 15% of women over this age really stand to benefit from the cap once it is introduced in 2016. We welcome plans to end the ‘catastrophic’ care costs someone might face over a four- or five- year period once they have moved into a care home, but the cap will only ever benefit a minority. The Government needs to be clear and up-front with people about what the care cap actually puts a cap on.

“There is a serious risk hundreds of thousands of older people will continue to be locked out of care and support under the current proposals on eligibility for council help”.

CSA Press Release: CSA Response to Government plans for who gets care from 2015 (06 June 2014)

The Government has today published its proposals for who will and who won’t get social care from 2015 under the new Care Act, introducing new national criteria for social care eligibility.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/care-act-2014-launch-of-care-and-support-consultation

Responding to the publication of the draft regulations and guidance for implementation of part 1 of the Care Act, Richard Hawkes, Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said:

“Millions of people who struggle with day-to-day tasks face a battle to get the quality of care they need.

“The Government has hailed the Care Act as bringing in a radical new system that promotes wellbeing and integration.

“But the Government has passed up the chance to drive through a genuinely preventative system. It has instead hardwired the year-on-year rationing that’s seen people squeezed out of the system.

“Without that help people’s lives fall apart. This will also place unbearable pressure on family carers.

“Sitting behind this issue is a story of chronic underfunding that has seen councils restrict who they give care to.

“There is still a chance to make a change. The Government must be bold, invest in care and create a care system that gives older and disabled people – and the families who care for them – the support they need to live well.

“If the Government gets this decision right, the passing of the Act will create a lasting legacy.”

CSA press statement on Better Care Fund (7 May 2014)

Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said:
“The care system is on its knees. Integration of health and social care is an important part of the solution.

“The Better Care Fund is also about finding savings in a chronically underfunded system.

“It’s really important that those savings are realised. As the Barker Commission recently concluded, additional funding for social care is both essential and affordable.

“The Government’s bold and positive care reforms are at real risk. It comes at a critical moment, as the Government prepares to reveal who will get free care under the new system.

“We’re really worried that hundreds of thousands of people who need care, won’t get it. Without that support people become isolated, risk slipping into crisis and ending up in A&E.

“The fundamental issue is funding. The care system needs to be properly funded. Government must now listen to that message, and make the hard choices about where that money should come from.”

Care and Support Alliance press release: CSA Response to the King’s Fund report on the future of health and social care (03 April 2014)

The Care and Support Alliance today responded to the publication of the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England by the King’s Fund.

Richard Hawkes, chair of the care and support alliance, said:

“This report is another stark reminder that the social care system is on its knees.

“Councils, charities, care providers, older and disabled people and their families are united in their concern that chronic underfunding is having a serious impact on the well-being of those who rely on care to get up, get dressed and get out of the house.

“The Government’s flagship care reforms are close to being agreed.

“We have to get the funding right – councils say the Better Care Fund is not enough.

“But the most important decision for older and disabled people will be who gets and who doesn’t get care in the new system.

“We’re extremely worried that hundreds of thousands of people who need care to get around the house, to communicate with family, friends or colleagues or to play a part in their community won’t get it.

“Without that support people become isolated, can’t contribute to society, risk slipping into crisis and ending up in A&E. This will also place huge pressure on family carers.

“The Government is working on the final version of their plans for who is in and out of the new system.

“We’ve got a positive set of principles for a new care system. But the Government must be bold, go further and properly fund a care system that gives older and disabled people – and the families who care for them – the support they need to live independently.”

ENDS

CSA Press Release: People who can’t move around their home won’t get support under care plans (26 March 2014)

People who need help to move around their home, to communicate with family and friends or take part in their community will risk losing local care and support, according to new analysis of Government flagship reform of care.

As the influential Public Accounts Committee prepares to investigate the care system, the Care and Support Alliance is releasing the findings of an investigation into Government plans for who will and who won’t get care under the new system.

As part of its wide-ranging care reforms that Government is planning to set a nation-wide level for who’s eligible for council-funded care.

It published its plans last year, when the Care Minister revealed he wanted to set eligibility at a higher ‘substantial’ level. This excludes people with so-called ‘moderate’ needs, who need help with several aspects of personal care, or of work, education or training. Research by LSE showed that this would mean 362,000 older and disabled people would be shut out of the system altogether.

But to get a clearer picture, organisations in the CSA commissioned disabled people, carers, social care experts and lawyers to take a closer look at the plans.

The analysis, which has been seen by the Department of Health, offers the first glimpse of who in practice will miss out on social care under the new system:

• Communication and social interaction needs are not included in the regulations. People such as those on the autistic spectrum, those with brain injuries or sensory loss, who need support to engage in social activity with friends and family and to prevent isolation, risk being excluded from the care system.

• Mobility around the home is not accurately reflected in the regulations. Being able to move around your home is vital to independence.

• There’s no explicit reference to choice and control in the regulations, which could impact on disabled people’s ability to have a say over how they live

The Care and Support Alliance is releasing the new findings to coincide with the PAC investigation, which begins today.

The Alliance is sending the findings to the Committee and is urgently calling on them to challenge the Government to explain who is in and who is out of the system.

The backdrop is the Care Bill, which reached its final stages in Parliament last week. The Government will then publish their final plans for who is in and out of the system in May.

Richard Hawkes, Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said:
“These findings are incredibly worrying for older and disabled people and their families.

“The Government is clear the recovery must be about providing people with security.

“If you’re old or disabled that means knowing that if you need support to get up, get dressed and get out; that you won’t be trapped in your home.

“The Government’s flagship care reforms are close to being agreed.

“There are imminent decisions about who will get care in the new system.

“We’re extremely worried that hundreds of thousands of people who need care to get around the house, to communicate with family, friends or colleagues or to play a part in their community won’t get it.

“Combined with setting the threshold at a high level this means increasing numbers of people will be unable to get vital care and support.

“Without that support people become isolated, can’t contribute to society, and risk slipping into crisis and ending up in A&E.

“The Government is working on the final version of the plans. We’ve got a positive set of principles for a new care system. But the Government must be bold, go further and properly fund a care system that gives older and disabled people – and the families who care for them – the support they need to live independently.”

Notes to Editors:
For more information contact Warren Kirwan or Daniel Mazliah in the Scope press office on 020 7619 7200 or email warren.kirwan@scope.org.uk or daniel.mazilah@scope.org.uk

Research with disabled people
- Scope spoke to 423 social care users and carers to gain feedback on the new eligibility criteria for social care proposed by the Government in the Care Bill.

o Via an Online Survey hosted by an independent research agency, Opinium. Total respondents: 392. (229 people in receipt of social care and 163 carers).

o Via 8 telephone interviews and 1 face-to-face interview with disabled people. (Including 4 people with communication difficulties (dual sensory loss); 2 people with mental health problems; 3 people with mobility issues (including 1 respondent with a progressive condition)

o Via 2 focus groups (1 run with National Autistic Society with a mix of 10 people on the autistic spectrum and carers; 1 run with Mencap with 12 people with a learning disability)

- The research was carried out between 23rd October 2013 and 20th December 2013.

The CSA expert seminar
The event brought together 24 people with experience in local government, policy, social work and the law. The seminar involved two discussion groups, the first on the current iteration of the regulations and the second focused mainly on an outcomes based approach to eligibility.

The CSA
The Care and Support Alliance was set up in July 2009. It is a consortium of more than 70 organisations that represent and support older and disabled people, including disabled children, those with long term conditions and their families.

Eligibility
Under the current care system of the 152 councils in England, government figures (“Social Care Legal Reform IA”; 2.5 table 8) show 86% now offer care only to those with the highest level of needs – deemed as ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ needs. In those areas this means older and disabled people who are unable to undertake several aspects of personal care, or of work, education or training are no longer eligible for council-funded care.

The Care and Support Alliance is calling on the Government to set eligibility in the new system at ‘moderate’ so as many people as possible benefit from the new system, and get the preventative support that keeps them from falling into crisis and ending up in A&E.

The final decision on where the national threshold will be set will be published for consultation in May 2014 and voted on in autumn 2014.

Scope Report – Feedback from carers and social care users