With care of the elderly firmly back on the political agenda following the publication of the government’s care and support White Paper on July 10th, the issues the country faces as a result of the ageing population are becoming ever more apparent.
Pressure is building on the government to give a clearer picture on the major issue of funding for social care. The lack of clarity on this issue is one of the main disappointments of Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley’s paper.
The white paper does, however, make a number of valuable suggestions including the promotion of personal budgets for people in need of social care, allowing them to choose how their care is delivered and who delivers it.
New national standards are to be set for elderly care which, refreshingly, is a first, plus free end-of-life care is to be introduced as well as the extension on deferred payments.
Another positive for the elderly is that the draft bill will make it harder for councils to commission short duration home care visits of 15 minutes. Measures were also announced to end the postcode lottery whereby provisions and services vary widely from area to area.
Trevor Brocklebank, CEO of Home Instead said, “Following Andrew Dilnot’s report I, like the rest of the care sector, had hoped that the white paper would deliver some clarity and the development of a structured funding model for care to give older people and their families peace of mind.
“We have been calling for an overhaul of the system for a number of years. Whilst the white paper does pave the way for reform, without a funding model I cannot see how real progress will be made.
“The government has a duty of responsibility to ensure that elderly people receive quality care which is focused on an individual’s needs and maintaining dignity.
“As I have expressed on previous occasions, my fear is that the scale of the problem will mean that no one is brave enough to make the necessary changes. This leaves many older people in a vulnerable position and puts them at risk.
“In the meantime we will continue doing what we do, delivering care in a unique way which places care for the elderly, and support for their families, at the heart of our organisation with a stated goal of changing the face of ageing.”
Home Instead, which has 128 offices across the country, currently provides care for in excess of 4,500 people in their own homes.
For more information on Home Instead, please visit www.homeinstead.co.uk.