Letter to The Editor
Tory manifesto – Intention for domiciliary care
The recent announcement of the conservative party’s proposals about the funding of care for people living in their own homes raises a huge concern for older people who own their homes and, if the conservatives win the election, as seems likely, will fundamentally change the way in which homecare services are funded for large numbers of people. These issues will be explored in depth in next month’s issue, but in the meantime, we all need to be thinking about the following:
· How do we make people more aware that, under the conservative party’s proposals, if their home is worth more than £100,000, they will have to fund any care they receive at home?
· How many people currently receiving full or partial Council funding for their homecare own their own home?
· Of those, how many people’s homes are valued at more than £100,000?
· What will be the impact on the Council-funding of homecare across the country as a consequence?
· Will there not become a postcode lottery in which people living broadly in the south of the country will automatically be excluded from Council-funded support if living at home?
· It is likely that anyone owning a home will defer or continually refuse to have homecare for fear of the impact it will have on the inheritance for their children. This must be a bad thing if we believe in the importance of care and in the importance of maintaining people’s independence at home for as long as possible, not least in order to reduce the strain of health services.
· How will the partner of the person who needs care at home feel about the home in which they live, and may continue to live in for many years to come, being subject to a charge from the state to recover the cost of the homecare?
· What will be the cost of the bureaucracy needed to add property assets to the means-testing process for are at home?
· Will the £100,000 be increased year-on-year?
· What impact will all this have on the state funding of social care to Councils in general, and especially to Councils managing services in relatively asset-rich geographies?
· Will the south of England become a mainly privately-funded market for homecare?
· What oversight will Councils have, if any, over those people who fall outside of their compass due to the change in means-testing?
· What is the regulatory impact of this fundamental change in terms of the likely fall in the number of older people subject to oversight by the CQC?
· Why should property assets (people’s homes) be included in means-testing when those people are living in their home (ie using their own assets) whilst receiving the service that is being means-tested? Is this fair?
· On a broader level, what does our society think about the funding of social care? To what extent is it reasonable for care & support to the old and vulnerable in society to be state-funded?
· Is the means-testing of social care fair at all, given that healthcare is not subject to the same criteria?
· Is it fair for care for the sick and injured to be funded out of taxation paid by the working population, but for older people who are sick purely as a result of their age to be means-tested?
· Why has there been no coherent health and social care strategy adopted by any government for decades despite the clear knowledge of the consequences of having an ageing population and isn’t it time we all tried to do something about it?”
Roger Booker, Health & Social Care Consultant and NED, Direct Health Group