11 July 2012
An end to the postcode lottery of care
It will be announced this week that the most radical reforms for 60 years will take place. Councils are to adhere to a minimum level of support for the elderly and disabled living within their catchment areas.
These new rules will stop councils making cost cutting measures, such as the 15 minutes of care, and introduce country wide standards for the level of support the elderly community are entitled to receive. It will also make it easier to move closer to relatives without the fear of losing their current level of care. At the moment, the standard offered by councils varies significantly so moving from one area to another meant that much needed help could be lost.
The new guidelines, to be introduced in 2015, will allow much more flexibility for the elderly by abolishing the ranking system, which councils frequently use as a cost cutting device. The current system categorises individuals as “critical”, “substantial”, “moderate,” or “low” when allocating funding for support services. Some councils had been considering introducing a “supercritical” category and restricting funding to these individuals alone.
Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said the current system was “confusing and unclear. No one should fear moving house or areas because they are worried that they will lose out on vital care and support. By introducing a minimum eligibility threshold people will have a much clearer picture of what to expect and not see access to care vary depending on where they live.”