Thousands of people could lose out on social care services as a result of changes proposed in the Care Act, a coalition of charities has warned.
The new regulations, which, subject to consultation, will come into force in April 2015, will set out national eligibility criteria for council-funded social care services, among other things.
But the Care & Support Alliance, a coalition of 75 organisations representing older and disabled people and their carers, has said that the proposed regulations will see thousands of people lose out on care and, without that, their lives could “fall apart”.
This warning came as the government launched its consultation on the draft regulations and guidance for Part 1 of the 2014 Care Act.
The draft regulations and guidance have been developed by working with expert groups, including users of care and support, local authority staff, voluntary sector organisations, social workers, and national representative bodies including those drawn from local government.
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “Care and support is something that nearly everyone in this country will experience at some point in their lives. Our Care Act will make the system fairer by putting people in control of their care and limiting the amount anyone may have to pay for the support they need.
“These regulations and guidance will help support councils in making these reforms a reality. We ask people to continue to share their views and experiences as part of this consultation to make sure we deliver real, lasting change for people across the country.”
But Richard Hawkes (pictured), chair of the Care and Support Alliance and chief executive of Scope, countered this by saying that the changes will have a negative impact on many people with disabilities and those who support them: “Millions of people who struggle with day-to-day tasks face a battle to get the quality of care they need.
“The Government has hailed the Care Act as bringing in a radical new system that promotes wellbeing and integration.
“But the Government has passed up the chance to drive through a genuinely preventative system. It has instead hardwired the year-on-year rationing that’s seen people squeezed out of the system.
“Without that help people’s lives fall apart. This will also place unbearable pressure on family carers.
“Sitting behind this issue is a story of chronic underfunding that has seen councils restrict who they give care to.
“There is still a chance to make a change. The Government must be bold, invest in care and create a care system that gives older and disabled people – and the families who care for them – the support they need to live well.
“If the Government gets this decision right, the passing of the Act will create a lasting legacy.”
The consultation is open until Friday 15 August and centres on the changes that will come into effect from April 2015. To have your say, click here: