Heads in sand on social care

Yesterday saw the coalition government publish its plans for a 21st century care system for England.

The social care system is something none of us hope to encounter but millions of us will - either because you'll need care yourself or you have someone close to you who does.

At present, you couldn't design a worse system and it's been crying out for reform.

To some extent the Government has listened to concerns. The new social care White Paper means that if you're a person with Parkinson's in need of care, or a carer of someone with Parkinson's, your council won't be able to ignore you. There will be a basic national threshold of need over which anyone can expect some help, rather than 150 different councils each deciding what their own thresholds are.

There will be more national information and advice, as well as letting people share their views and recommendations on services, something which will help people with Parkinson's who have to fund their own care.

A Care and Support Bill will put more of this into practice. However most of this won't happen for 3 more years.

It all comes back to money.

The delay is down to the fact there's no real money to make these changes happen.

As always with social care it comes back to money: a system that's been starved of it for many years will just have to struggle on. The message from yesterday was it's not an economic priority - despite the costs to the NHS of having to pick up the pieces, and to people giving up work to care for others.

Similarly, there's no priority for the Dilnot report and its recommendation to cap the worst costs of care for people who have to sell their homes or bear years of funding their own care. Again the message from the Treasury is we can't afford to do anything to help - yet.

The Dilnot model helps people with modest assets and middle incomes, who stand to lose the most when faced with costs upwards of £35K for their care. Many people with Parkinson's fall into this category having faced years of covering their care costs.

Instead, 'pay when you die' screamed the headlines yesterday. The Government shifted attention to a planned nationwide scheme to help people defer paying care costs until after they die. The council would fund that person's care in return for recouping their costs when the person's home is sold. But in some areas councils already let people do this anyway.

The bottom line is that this isn't an answer to the politics of people having to sell their home to pay for their care.

What do you think?

We'll be digesting and responding to the Government's plans. We'd really welcome your views on this debate.

Do you agree or disagree with what the Government has done? What do you feel about people having to sell their homes to pay for their care? Is this an issue that's important to you? Add your comments below or email us on campaigns@parkinsons.org.uk

And while we consider our next moves to end the care crisis, sign up to our Campaigns Network - we'll keep you updated on our social care campaigning work.


hazel waters said...

I started looking at the 150 pages of the bill, and gave up at page 7 - it is just waffle, of the 'we all believe in motherhood and apple-pie variety'. I was however delighted to see that local authorities will have a duty to put in place 'prevention' strategies.At last! no more Parkinson's, the government will prevent it... what a joke. The whole point of the living nightmare that is trying to care for someone with advanced Parkinson's is that you struggle from one extended crisis to another, with very little practical help and flannel about recognising carers and concern about 'well-being' without cash and structures to back it up simply adds insult to injury. At which, of course, the Coalition government are pastmasters...

Anonymous said...

Hi, all I can say is this, I am wrighting this at 01.37am as I cant sleep yet again. I only get around 4-5hrs sleep a night now and it's a pain as although I am really tired I cant sleep as it's so uncomfortable and trying to turn over in bed is painfull.
I am only recieving jobseekers allowance which is £67.00 a week for me as I am waiting to see a Neurologist on 21st Jan after previous appointments were delay'd.
I need this assessment as I am far from fit for work and it's taken month's.
The point I am making is this, I am awake 19-20hrs a day and spending a fortune in electricity bills (I have no gas here) What do they want me to do ? spend most of my solitary life alone in bed to keep warm ? Still, chin up and there are people out there who are worse off.
I thank the Lord that I have good family behind me.
Kind regards to all and have a good Christmas and a great new year.
73 Chris.

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