By Debbie le Quesne

Oh dear, the Dilnot consensus is falling apart

leave a comment »

The government’s Care Bill, outlining a range of issues including how to better integrate care, tackle social care costs and how to drive up care standards, was published a few days ago.

In essence, the Bill will create a single law which replaces more than a dozen pieces of legislation.

But it came with a warning from the Alzheimer’s Society, a group not known for overplaying its hand or for barbed political ‘spinning’.

This is what it said on the day the Bill went public: “Today’s Bill has the potential to bring about important changes to prevent the highest costs, integrate care and give carers the recognition they deserve.

“However we must ensure eligibility levels are not set so high as to deny thousands of deserving people vital support.”

And here’s the crunch: ”Also, unless the huge financial hole in the social care system is addressed in the summer’s spending review, the system will never be fully fixed.”

Fast-forward less than a week . . . and today we have the Labour Party breaking rank with the cross-party consensus that the Dilnot cap of £72,000 is a fair deal.

As many of us working in the care sector suspect, the capping level to ensure older people will not have to sell their homes to fund social care, would not work.

I recall blogging about its implications – one being the possible rash of insurance policies emerging for funding, but so far even this potential has not been stimulated by the Dilnot rule.

Liz Kendall, Labour’s care spokeswoman who sits in the shadow cabinet, said that after the opposition had analysed the new arrangements it was “plainly obvious families will face losing even more of their homes than they do now”.

I don’t understand the mathematics of such analytical work, but she adds “most elderly people in care homes will die long before they ever reach the cap” and that I clearly do understand.

At the heart of the policy, said Kendall, was that the cap only applied to payments for care at council rates.

The Guardian online states today: “By 2016, when the cap takes effect, local authorities will pay about £500 a week for residential care and “hotel costs” (essentially food and accommodation). Hotel costs are limited to £12,500 a year or £240 a week, leaving £260 for care costs.

“At that rate it would take about five years to reach the £72,000 cap, at which point the government will step in and pay the £260 a week as a care subsidy.

“However, that is about twice as long as the average stay in a care home. And anyone paying more than the local authority rate will have to pay the extra themselves, before and after the cap is reached – which won’t count towards the £72,000.”

This is all so messy, embroiled in politicking, and I dislike getting involved in this debate because it has always been such a political arena.

Isn’t it time for the politics to cease? We need a care funding solution and under this parliamentary watch there’s doesn’t seem to be one emerging. It has to be a cross-party resolve that will stand scrutiny and critically, any solution will need to be driven by addressing care demands rather than squeezing those increasing social needs into a predetermined budget.

The government summer spending review is on the horizon and I can only hope that a political will emerges in hard cash to help us deliver the care ministers demand, but will not presently fund.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: