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Tory social care vs. Labour social care

The devil is in the detail, which is why political parties often avoid it. But in the last week we have seen two detailed polices from Labour and Conservatives on social care.

First came Brown’s promise that to “those with the highest needs we will now offer in their own homes free personal care” (England only). In detailed terms, this would mean that those assessed at the highest level, critical, would not have to pay for any care received in their home. Care in residential homes goes unmentioned. Reports have suggested that up to 350,000 people may benefit from this although it can be assumed that a large number of those with the most critical needs already receive free care.

Interestingly, this policy doesn’t quite fit in with any of the proposals in the Green Paper.

The Conservatives retaliated with their own proposal: 65 year olds can pay a one-off £8000 which will “guarantee that absolutely all fees for permanent residential care would be waived – for life.” (Conservative website). However, there is no mention of covering costs of care in their own home.

It is this omission that I find strange. The Conservatives believe it is wrong that 45,000 people every year sell their home to pay for residential care. Their response is not to improve care provided in the own home, so that they don’t actually have to leave their home, but appears to incentivize the opposite. Care in a residential care home could be free (if you have paid £8k) but you would still have to pay if you were receiving care at home.

Tory Shadow for Health and Social Care, Stephen O’Brien, believes that it will not create an incentive for people to move into residential care because the desire to remain at home is so strong, therefore this policy will help those who have to move into care. I am not wholly convinced and what happens to those who cannot afford £8000 has not been mentioned either. This policy does allow people to keep their home, but does not seem to help them live in it.

My second question regards the amount. A one off voluntary £8000 will guarantee the Government pays all residential fees, which presumably means the cost of care and the cost of accommodation. In the same article on their website, the Conservative’s say the average amount in fees some pay is over £50,000. This means that you would need 5 or 6 people paying into a scheme to cover the costs of 1. I would love it if anybody reading this blog knows of current figures and projected trends for residential care…

Big announcements, but questions still to be answered.

When it comes to looking at the detail, take care,

Gordon

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October 6, 2009 - Posted by | Conservatives, Party Conferences | ,

5 Comments »

  1. Both proposals are short sighted , and , if either were ever implemented , would not go anywhere near solving a problem that has been known for the past 40 \ 50 years.

    Money is only part of the whole picture. To really understand the whole concept of what is known as ” Social Care ” , one needs to start at the very bottom , and then work up the food chain.

    Question number one. Who is responsible for Social Care as it is presently administered ?

    Answer : In many cases , a family member administers Social Care to an elderly or disabled relative in the confines of their own home. That person is called a carer.

    Okay , let’s start with carers …. they are the backbone of Social Care ….. are they performing adequately ? Do they need more resources ? Are they financially secure ?

    Too simple ?

    Comment by Paul | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. Neither Labour or Tory proposals on this issue are ‘carer friendly’. In fact more like carer blind..it’s like we don’t exist!!

    Two points:

    Firstly re:”those with the highest needs we will now offer in their own homes free personal care” (England only). In detailed terms, this would mean that those assessed at the highest level, critical, would not have to pay for any care received in their home”.

    L A banding ie ‘substantial, critical,etc’ takes into acccount informal carer support. ie if there is a family carer who has perhaps given up their job or reduced their hours of work to care for someone that someone is unlikely to be assessed as critical.

    Secondly the Tory policy would mostly benefit family members who do not to provide care themselves by preserving their inheritence.

    “Care in a residential care home could be free (if you have paid £8k) but you would still have to pay if you were receiving care at home”.

    Have to agree with you there..a ridiculous anomoly.Policy built to grab headlines…

    Whoevers policy you chose it’s a case of she who cares loses not only financially ie from perhaps having to reduce hours of work to care or even to give up work but also in loss of inheritence ie charges if additional statutory support is needed!!!

    Comment by Angelica | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  3. And the moral is..it doesn’t pay to care!! At least not financially!

    Comment by Angelica | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  4. Nicely researched, Gordon. Surely the Beeb should report this… 😉

    I wonder how many more devils you’ll uncover in the build up to the election.

    Comment by James Morgan | October 10, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi James

      Further research seems to confirm suspicions that the Labour proposals was not fully thought through and that it was decided at the last minute without full planning. At the time, we questioned who exactly they meant by those with the “highest needs” – we presumed those meeting the critical eligibility criteria. It was also unclear how much personal care would be provided for free, and indeed how many people would benefit from this as many would already be receiving free personal care.

      This article highlights the confusion http://www.hsj.co.uk/5006869.article

      Gordon

      Comment by Gordon | October 15, 2009 | Reply


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