Personal Care Bill: legislating in a rush?

I’m Tom and I have been a volunteer at The Trust for the past 3 months. It struck me earlier this week how, during my time working within the Policy and Parliamentary Affairs arena, I have witnessed two vastly different styles of law making by our government.

When I started in September I was immediately immersed in the world of the Big Care Debate, a lengthy consultation on the creation of a National Care Service (NCS). I was involved in lobbying MPs during the Party Conference season and in questioning Department of Health officials over the finer detail of the Green Paper. Another part of my role was to gauge the opinions of carers through events in the network of Carers’ Centres and through our surveys. Much of this process consisted of highly emotive views from carers and fairly belligerent and guarded responses from officials. Whilst many claimed that the government had made its mind up and would not listen to interested parties some progress was made. David Behan recently said that more would have to be more done for carers in the White Paper due to the weight of feedback from carers organisations. The government also backed down over proposals to scrap DLA although they did not go far enough to protect other vital benefits.

More recently the Government has announced the new Personal Care Bill which promises free personal care for those most in need . They say it is a bridge to the creation of the NCS but as this contradicts the Green Paper, it might be said to step on the toes of the National Care Service (NCS), possibly to have something for Labour to sell to the electorate at the next general election. Few would argue with the ideological stance of giving more help to people who need it, but is the process by which it is being rushed through parliament poor?

However, should we care about the process if the end result is of benefit?

And would it not be better to have this legislation in place before the election as the Conservatives have offered little alternative in this area so far?

Although we are yet to see the results of the NCS consultation (the White Paper), the process by which the legislation has evolved will go some way to ensure that the end product is the correct balance of what is possible and what is desirable for the whole electorate. Proper process has allowed the huge volume of differing opinion around the National Care Service to be aired, scrutinised and taken on board. Whilst free personal care for the highest needs is something that should be available, this should be as part of the NCS, not as part of a hastily put together, unscrutinised plan that is partly, at least, about wining votes.

See our briefing on the Personal Care at Home Bill

Take care, Tom


December 18, 2009 - Posted by | Care and Support Green Paper | , , ,


  1. hey nice post and i also like your blog design…bookmarked your site and looking for more updates.

    Comment by AliceKay | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  2. What about, instead of councils or care-providing companies employing paid per hour “care” providers (toprovide the so called “free-care” provided at the home of the care-receiver), to pay a certain amont of money to the one who already cares for the care-receiver? The allowances of save-from-starving-death of £53 per week converted a many carers lives in all-day-every-day stressful misery as it is, all of them are having some form of financial debt, many of them are in financial crisis or hardship and many suffer from depression, their lifestyles are reduced to zero-existence. Why the Government always fails to see this, and always manages to bring some time-wasting gimmick-policy proposals instead of dealing with the huge problem and this time make it right? Believe me, there are so many desperate carers, who, as we are typing this message here, are falling in different forms of depression, and other disabling and/or mental illnesses and converting them into permanent care-needing people caused by the acute, chronically-poor lifestyles they have because of the ignorance of the Government by failing to deal with the needs of the CARERS. What a gimmick time-consumer policiy this time – employ people to provide the “free-care” to manage the bowel-needs of the care-receiver at home?!
    Just Pay to the one already doing this job for years, the carer, the family member, the one from whom the care-receiver received care for years and use to it.
    This way of deling would save the travel-to-work-money to the ones who would be employed [by the council or a private or public company] and still paid to do the job.
    Most carers dont travel “to work” to reach the destination of the care-receiver, they live with them as they provide 365/24/7 care. Just Pay the money to the long-term carers [family members] who provide care already, so the long-term carers will be relieved and happy because ‘at least now’ they will be able to get the well and long deserved form of solution to their stuck-in-debt-lives because of their 24/7 caring responsibilities?
    Most importantly, what if the care-receiver does not want and cannot cope with the idea of some unknown person to manage their toileting needs and / or “bowel and urinating management”, dealing with their most intimate parts? Are we going to force them to use the proposed services? What if the person who would be employed to manage the toilet needs of a care-receiver changes all the time, would the care-receiver cope with the humiliation of 100 people seeing their intimate parts or at least the whole personel who would work for the “care-providing companies”, depending on who is on shift? How many people are reliable nowadays, even if they are CRB checked? [I am sure you remember the popular and dusgusting scandal around the CRB checked “all-clean” pervet nurse who abused children in the nursery; elderly people on their own, all alone at home are just as vulnerable.] Surely this policy does not comply with Human Rights and is not a care-receiver neither cares (family member or close friend who already provides care) friendly policy?
    Why they dont pay to people who already do the job instead of medling with peoples lives, and potentially intimate parts?! [If this happens, we will be able to say then – the state is not only surrounding my life, everywhere, but is in my diapers too!]
    Why a family member or a close one, (with whom i am comfortable who managed my bowel needs for years, and I am happy with it), is not being given the rightfully deserved money, which will be paid anyway [with more extras!] through a differently accounted way to an employed guy who will be doing the “bowel-management job”, whom I wouldn’t like to medle with my private parts? If the person who proposes such gimmick, falls one day in a condition, situation of a person who needs looking after to a such extent that they will need to have someone to feed them and do their “bowel management”, do they remind themselves if they would be happy with a policy like this, whom they will prefer to look after them a family member or a different person every day whoever is on shift to cover [we are people and no one is insured against getting ill]?

    Why the carers dont get these money directly, insted of employing some people to do the “free care” which is a “roundabouted” way of paying for care which will entail, building rents, accountants, and many other spendings.
    Why the Govt always make things too complicated? Is it that what they want to prolong the so much help that both carers and care-receiver will be relieved of? They are not doing anything to make better the whole situation, all the proposals are wrong. Paying directly to the carer is a strightforward policy, so they should inease the carers allowances and pay extra per hour for the time they look after the care-receive.

    Comment by Nikky5 | January 14, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Nikky,

      Thanks for your comment as you bring up a lot of good points. Tom has now unfortunately gone back to his normal job after being with us for a few months so I thought that I would reply on his behalf.

      Under the proposal, people could take the extra funding that would be available as a personal budget. This would allow them to pay friends, and in certain circumstances, family members they live with to provide care as you suggest below. It would be interesting to hear what you think about paying family members to care as some people think it could change the family relationship into one of employer and employee which might make things harder for both the carer and the person being cared-for. So the government says that relatives who live with the person should only receive payment in “exceptional circumstances”. What do people think?

      The other consideration for this Bill is that there are some families who have to pay for care to enable the carer to have a break, go to work, do the shopping etc. In some cases, this Bill would mean that this replacement care would be provided for free which would benefit some families.



      Comment by Gordon | January 19, 2010 | Reply

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