The Government has published its long-awaited Care and Support White Paper, together with the draft Care and Support Bill, which promise to introduce a national minimum eligibility threshold for care services, among other reforms.
While the Government says the White Paper and Bill will transform social care from a service that reacts to crises to one that focuses on prevention and is built around the needs and goals of people, it does not contain plans for reforming the funding of adult social care, which is addressed in a separate progress report.
Measures put forward in the Care and Support White Paper include:
- An additional £300 million will be transferred from the NHS to social care to support the transformation of local services and promote better integrated care
- People who have a disability and live in a care home will no longer have to give up their wages to pay for their care
- Service users will be able to take their assessments with them if they move area, rather than having to be reassessed, as they are now
- A new national information website will be established to provide a clear and reliable source of information on care and support
- Plans to introduce a national minimum eligibility threshold, bringing greater consistency in access to care and support across England
- Plans to legislate to give people an entitlement to a personal budget as part of their care and support plan
- Training more care workers to deliver high-quality care, including an ambition to double the number of care apprenticeships to 100,000 by 2017
- Improving access to independent advice to help people eligible for financial support from their local authority to develop their care and support plan
- A deferred payment scheme to ensure people in residential care do not have to sell their homes to pay for care in their lifetime.
Meanwhile, the Draft Care and Support Bill proposes reform of the legislation which underpins social care. It plans to bring together more than a dozen Acts of Parliament dating back over 60 years, into a single statute.The progress report on social care funding outlines that while the recommendations of last year’s Dilnot Commission are agreed with in principle, they will not be implemented yet.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley explained: “We agree that the principles of the Dilnot recommendations – financial protection through capped costs and an extended means-test – would be the right basis for any new funding model.“However, while this is the right thing to do and it is our intention to base a new funding model on the principles, if a way to pay for it can be found, any proposal which includes extra public spending needs to be considered alongside other spending priorities, which of course include the demographic pressures on the social care service itself. The right place to do this is at the next Spending Review.“We are taking definitive steps now to take forward a number of important recommendations made by the Dilnot Commission. We are today committing to a Universal Deferred Payments scheme. This will ensure no one will be forced to sell their home to pay for care in their lifetime.”In response, shadow health minister Andy Burnham welcomed some proposals, including the deferred payments scheme, but said it was only half a plan as the White Paper does not face up to the funding problem.Burnham added that councils need emergency support and that, as the Treasury has clawed back £1.4 billion from the Department of Health budget, wouldn't it be better to use some of this money for social care?