Care cap delayed

The implementation of a lifetime spending cap on the amount an individual would spend on care was a flagship of the former coalition government’s social care policy, and a manifesto commitment for the present government. However implementation of the spending cap, originally intended for April 2016, has now been delayed until 2020. This means after the next election, so this delay raises considerable doubts about whether the cap will ever be implemented at all.

Age UK supported the proposed spending cap in principle and still does, but as we have said before, the devil is in the detail. For example the Dilnot Commission on long term care funding, which thought up the idea of the cap, originally set the cap at £35,000- £50,000, which was carefully calculated to ensure that the less well off would benefit. This objective was undermined by the government’s decision to raise the cap to £72,000.

Now that details of the scheme have emerged – with draft regulations being published only just before the election – it has become clear that the top priority must be to stop the social care system that millions of older people depend on from collapsing in its entirety.The most urgent priority arises from the current situation where cash strapped local authorities have restricted care to the point where over a million older people who are unable to carry out at least one vital activity of daily living without difficulty (for example using the toilet, getting dressed) receive no care whatsoever. Continue reading “Care cap delayed”

General Election Series: Health and social care high on the agenda at Age UK Rally

General Election rally
Age UK’s General Election Rally

This week’s blog from our General Election Series is a guest post from Mary, a campaigner from Norfolk, who came to our General Election Rally in London on Tuesday 24 March. 

With the Care Act 2014 coming into force on the first of April, we spoke to Mary, from Norfolk, about how the issues of health and social care dominated Age UK General Election rally on 24 March.

‘Last week, thanks to the efforts of Age UK, and along with 250 other  representatives of our older population, I was given the opportunity to both listen to and question senior politicians, including David Cameron, on their plans for older people’s services, should they be elected.

‘Other than applauding speakers on the triple lock, highlighting the need to retain universal benefits such as the bus pass, and voicing regret that today’s pensioners will not benefit from the new state pension, the bulk of the day’s discussions undoubtedly focussed on care and the NHS.  Continue reading “General Election Series: Health and social care high on the agenda at Age UK Rally”

Campaign win: Government moves to protect older people’s human rights

Last week the Care Bill received royal assent. Let’s mark the occasion by reflecting on the successes that we have achieved, the changes to the social care system and the measures that will help older people with care needs to live with dignity.

One of the changes that is particularly positive was only agreed in the very final
stages of the parliamentary process. During the exciting-sounding ‘ping pong’ where the two Houses are required to agree each other’s changes to the Bill, a
Government amendment was accepted that closes a loophole in human rights law; a change that Age UK has campaigned for a number of years.

Currently, whether you are covered by the Human Rights Act when receiving care services depends on what that service is, how it is funded and who arranges it. Publicly funded or arranged residential care is covered. Privately arranged
and funded residential care is not. That means two people living in the same care home could have different levels of protection under the law. When it comes to domiciliary care, there is no direct coverage at all. This means that human rights abuses could be taking place with no option for redress. Continue reading “Campaign win: Government moves to protect older people’s human rights”

The Care Act

This blog was contributed by Angela Kitching, joint Head of Public Affairs, at Age UK

The Care Bill’s conclusion in May brought to an end years of reports, commissions and draft Bills intended to turn a patchwork system of social care legislation into an adequate legal underpinning.

As a result of these changes there should be real improvement, such as:

But this is not the end of the journey for social care – it must be the foundation on which improvements to the system as a whole are laid.

Critically, funding for social care now falls so far short of what is needed to meet demand that many of the provisions in the Care Act, such as support for carers or a system aiming to focus on aspiration rather than need.

These necessary aims cannot be realised unless more money is made available. Coupled with increasing numbers of older people and younger disabled adults needing care, politicians of all stripes must now take steps to adequately fund social care services.

In the long term without this investment, we will not save money, we will merely shunt costs onto emergency care services, more expensive types of residential care and onto overstretched family carers who may be forced to leave their jobs, possibly becoming ill themselves, in order to manage their family’s care crisis. Continue reading “The Care Act”