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New care criteria may leave thousands without support

Tell us ‘who is in and who is out’ - charities urge

Jo Carlowe

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Changes to the eligibility criteria for social care will leave thousands of people with disabilities without support.

The warning comes today from the Care and Support Alliance, a consortium of over 70 organisations, as the Public Accounts Committee prepares to investigate the care system.

According to the new CSA analysis, the government’s plans to set eligibility for council-funded care at a higher “substantial” level will exclude people with so-called “moderate needs”.

Research by the London School of Economics has showed that this would mean 362,000 older and disabled people would no longer qualify for care. To get a clearer picture, organisations in the CSA commissioned disabled people, carers, social care experts and lawyers to take a closer look at the plans.

The Alliance notes that communication and social interaction needs are not included in the regulations and warn this will mean that people such as those on the autistic spectrum, those with brain injuries or sensory loss, who need support to engage in social activity with friends and family and to prevent isolation, risk being excluded from the care system. In addition, it says mobility around the home is “not accurately reflected in the regulations” meaning that some people risk losing their independence.

Richard Hawkes, chair of the CSA, described the findings as “incredibly worrying”.

“The Government’s flagship care reforms are close to being agreed. There are imminent decisions about who will get care in the new system. We’re extremely worried that hundreds of thousands of people who need care to get around the house, to communicate with family, friends or colleagues or to play a part in their community won’t get it.”

He warned that “without support" people risked becoming "isolated”, “slipping into crisis” and “ending up in A&E”.

George McNamara, head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer’s Society (which is a member of the Alliance), said the changes could leave thousands of people with dementia “cut off from the support they deserve and need”.

The Care and Support Alliance is sending its findings to the Public Accounts Committee and has urged the Committee to “challenge the Government to explain who is in and who is out of the system”.

The backdrop is the Care Bill, which reached its final stages in Parliament last week. The Government will publish its final plans for consultation in May, to be voted on in autumn 2014.

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