The most radical reform of the social care system in 64 years has been announced this month in an effort to ensure that people get the care and support they need to prevent them reaching ‘‘crisis point’’.
The draft Care and Support Bill, published alongside the White Paper on July 11th, consolidates a mess of different laws to, for the first time, create a single modern and transparent statute for adult care and support.
This overhaul builds on the government’s decision to prioritise support for social care in the Spending Review, by providing an additional £7.2bn over four years, to ensure service levels can be maintained.
The Care and Support White Paper, together with the draft Care and Support Bill, sets out how the social care system will be transformed from a service that reacts to crises, to one that focuses on prevention and is built around the needs and goals of people.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley explained: “Our plans will bring the most comprehensive overhaul of social care since 1948 and will mean that people get the care and support that they need to be safe and to live well so they don’t reach a crisis point.
“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.”
Key elements of the government’s plans include focusing on quality of care, treating people with dignity and respect, ensuring people know the support they are entitled to and allowing them control over their care, as well as giving carers new rights to public support.
The government will continue to work with stakeholders to consider in more detail variants under the principles of the Dilnot Commission’s model, before coming to a final view in the next Spending Review.
Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow, said: “People want a social care system that is fair, high quality and geared towards what people actually want. Our White Paper, draft Bill and progress report mark the most significant Government action in over 60 years to fix a system that is fragmented, confusing and massively variable in terms of quality and provision."
Mr Burstow argued that this reform would ‘‘put people at the centre of their own care and give them more information to make the right choices about their needs.”
Steve Winyard, Head of Campaigns at RNIB, welcomes a number of proposals made in the White Paper which he claims that RNIB has ‘‘campaigned hard to secure’’, including plans to maintain a comprehensive system of registers for blind and partially sighted people.
Mr Winyard stated: ‘‘It is extremely important that provisions like this are in place to ensure that local authorities can plan their services and so that blind and partially sighted people can be effectively referred to local support."
"We need future legislation - and indeed solutions on funding - to address the unmet needs of groups, like blind and partially sighted people, who remain locked out from local authority care.
"We are pleased the Government has agreed to a national minimum eligibility threshold but await further detail on whether it will meet the needs of people living with sight loss."
For more information about the Care and Support White Paper or to read the full documents visit the Department of Health website
Written by Catherine Ridge
Department of Health, http://mediacentre.dh.gov.uk/2012/07/11/reforming-care-and-support/