The Prime Minister’s social care reforms announced this week has been criticised after it emerged the new lifetime cap fails to cover food and housing for care home residents.
Speaking on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new system of funding social care which will come into effect from October 2023. The long-promised and highly contentious reforms see a cap of £86,000 on lifetime care spending and a “floor” on assets which stops anyone who needs care from spending all their savings.
Out of the £36bn pot raised from the government’s new Health and Social Care Levy, some £30.6bn will be allocated to the NHS to help tackle longer waiting lists due to the Covid pandemic while £5.4bn will go to social care over the next three years.
Health Minister Sajid Javid has said a larger amount will be given to social care after three years. Of the £5.4bn available for social care over three years, £2.5bn will fund the PM’s £86,000 care cap.
It has however emerged that the £86,000 cap on lifetime care spending only applies to “personal care”, which mean the physical acts of caring regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
Consequently, the cap will not cover “hotel costs” for residents of care homes, which includes accommodation, cleaning and food, which can according to providers often exceed
“personal care” costs.
This is, the government say, in line with what has always happened with social care in the UK, since, if people in care homes were receiving care at home they would have to pay those bills.
The Prime Ministers cap on care spending has been denounced as “misleading” by experts, who warn that it will not prevent a “catastrophic loss of assets.”
Jane Brightman, director of social care at the Institute of Health and Social Care Management, spoke to The Telegraph about the high cost of “hotel costs” for care home residents.
“Hotel costs are really expensive – it covers food, bedrooms, and so on – and you’ll still have to sell your property to pay for these things,” she told the outlet.
“How are you going to come up with that money?” It’s quite difficult.
“The way this has been described via the announcement in the health and social care strategy is a little misleading.
“We urgently require clarification on this.”