Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:
“It is hugely disappointing that the new national eligibility criteria fail to give more people access to care. The care system is in a desperate place with funding failing to keep pace with rising demand. As a result, care is now restricted to only those in the greatest need. The situation is bleak for those older people who need help with everyday tasks –they are being denied their dignity and peace of mind when they are most vulnerable but without help could well end up in hospital. .
“Everyday day there is another horror story of an older person failed by the system and sadly things will not improve until the social care funding gap is filled. Politicians in every party need to recognise this and commit to action as an urgent priority.”
Responding to the new national eligibility framework, Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:
‘In setting the eligibility criteria for council-funded social care so high thousands of people with dementia will be cut off from the vital support they need and deserve. It is absurd logic that services which help prevent people from reaching crisis point are given such low priority. People with dementia shouldn’t be waiting for an emergency until someone steps in – our care services should be working to prevent that crisis from happening.
‘Without hard cash the black hole in social care finances will suck the potential out of this opportunity for transformative change and we will continue to see people with dementia struggling to live from day-to-day.’
Care Act 2014 (part 1): In response to today’s publication of statutory guidance and response to consultation, Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age said:
“We welcome the new rules to support the Care Act, in particular the strengthening of protection for families from having to pay unfair top-up fees for relatives’ care home costs. We also welcome the requirement for councils to improve information and advice services on care issues. However we think the government has missed an opportunity to liberalise the rules on who is eligible for social care, meaning that an estimated 235,000 older people will continue to be outside the system and need to either pay for care themselves, receive it from friends and families – or go without. This is shortsighted because many of those outside the care systems may as a result need to draw on health and other services earlier as a result”
Ruth Cooke, CEO Midland Heart, in support of the Care & Support Alliance, said:
“We know that increasing demand and falling resources will together unhinge the aspirations of the new care reforms. This pressure means that the bar to accessing services is being raised.
“We are a provider of early intervention services for many vulnerable people and see the very positive difference preventative services can make. Its about helping an individual live with dignity and independence in their own home.
“With more people excluded from the care system, we will see countless older and disabled customers unable to get the vital services they need and they will simply hit crisis point.
“We need a bigger, honest whole system debate on making prevention truly work – it’s a debate about funding, eligibility, integration and wellbeing.”
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said: “Social care isn’t just for older people or those with physical disabilities. It can play a vital role in keeping people with mental health problems well and able to cope.
“We welcome some of the provisions in the guidance and regulations, in particular the inclusion of support for people to maintain and stay in their home. This will particularly help people with mental health problems and was something we have been campaigning for.
“However, without more funding in the system many people with mental health problems will be denied access to the care and support they need. A very low level of relatively inexpensive support with managing bills, doing the weekly food shop or getting out and socialising with others can make sure someone stays on their feet and manages their mental health problems well. Take that away and people can descend into illness, unable to get out of bed, wash, dress, get to work or maintain relationships. This has serious implications for other parts of the system such the NHS, as people reach crisis point and need much more intensive and expensive hospital or home-based health care.
“As NHS England today highlights, our NHS is straining at the seams. Mental health services in particular are struggling to cope with the numbers of people seeking support and the government would be well-advised to consider the long-term implications of denying thousands of people the basic social care support they need. A little initial investment will not only save money in the long run – it will save lives.”
Threshold for social care “far too high”
National deafblind charity Sense today (23 October) warned that many disabled and older people will miss out on services they desperately need following the Government’s publication of the regulations that set out who is eligible for social care from 2015 under the new Care Act.
Sue Brown, Head of Campaigns and Public Policy 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 disabled and older 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. The Government must act and provide the funding that will allow disabled people to receive adequate care.”