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:
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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 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.
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.