Age UK have put together an e-action that makes it easy for people to respond to the consultation on the national eligibility criteria.
Take the e-action here: http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=31&ea.campaign.id=30327
CSA members can share this on social media and encourage their audiences to have their say on the national eligibility criteria. It is not specific to older people and can be used by any member organisation.
The e-action asks people about their personal experiences of care, is very short and includes an easy-read guide to the regulations. Responses are then sent to the Department of Health to feed into the consultation, reflecting the personal views of our supporters.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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”.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”