Former Care Minister: ‘Reforms Must Go Further’

  • Former Care Minister wants care reforms to go further
  • Adults receiving day-to-day help at home and in the community falls by a third (31%) since 2008
  • Care Bill: bold reforms at risk as 75 charities urge Government to re-think care threshold and invest in local support

Former Care Minister Paul Burstow is fronting a cross-party bid for Government care reforms to go further, and include more older and disabled people and family carers.

He joins Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston and Labour MP Grahame Morris in prompting a discussion on the Care Bill on Tuesday by putting his name to an amendment to the flagship legislation.

The amendment is backed by the 75 charities of the Care and Support Alliance and would mean older and disabled people who are unable to undertake several aspects of personal care, or work, education or training would be eligible for council-funded care. Under the Government’s proposed reforms the group, described as people with ‘moderate needs’, could be excluded.

At the same time, new analysis by the Alliance, released today, shows that within the overall squeeze on social care, people who need support with day-to-day tasks in their own home (getting up, washing, dressing) and local community (shopping, or skills development at day centres) are mostly likely to be losing out on care.

  • Overall adults receiving this community-based care fell by almost a third (31%) since 2008. Over the same time people receiving care support in a residential or nursing home fell by only 8%.
  • The numbers of older people receiving help at home and in their community fell by 36%.
  • The numbers of working aged people with a physical disability receiving help at home and in their community fell by 29%.

(see notes for reference)

The analysis and the amendment add fuel to the on-going debate on how to ease the pressure on accident and emergency departments, which has recently seen experts link the issue to the historic squeeze on social care.

Recently NHS leaders warned that a lack of local and community care is forcing people to stay in hospital too long, and placing a huge strain on finances and capacity.

Sitting behind the squeeze is the fact that councils have had to reduce their adult social care budgets by £2.6bn in the last three years alone, according to social services directors.

The Care and Support Alliance backs the cross-party trio’s bid to widen access to care to include everyone that needs support with day-to-day tasks, and also urges the Government to back-up their Bill with funding.

The CSA warns that under current plans, the 347,000 people cut out of social care since 2008 will remain locked out of the system.

The alliance sees the Government’s £3.8bn Better Care Fund – which starts in 2015 – as a step in the right direction, but charities and councils warn if the Government continues to cut council budgets then the good intentions of the fund will be damaged and it will do no more than slow the growing gap between supply and demand for social care.

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

“You can’t tackle the winter A&E crisis, without looking at the historic squeeze on social care.

“We now know that community-based care has been hit hard.

“Chronic underfunding has left hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people, who need support to do the basics, like getting up or out of the house, out of the care system.
“Without that support they become isolated, more likely to slip into crisis and end up in A&E.

“The Government has put forward strong proposals in its Care Bill, which will greatly improve a social care system which is on its knees.

“But it’s becoming clear that a huge number of older and disabled people will not see any of the benefits of the new system, because of plans to tightly restrict who gets care. This will place huge pressure on family carers.

“We want the Government to have the courage to see its bold plans through, and make sure that those who need support to live independently get community-based care.

“The Minister has engaged with the sector and acknowledged the issue.

“But the Government needs to commit to properly funding the social care system.”

 

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