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New Government’s programme: what’s in store for carers?

Thirteen days and twelve hours after the polls closed, now we know. The new Government’s programme – an amalgamation of manifestos – has been published. You’ve got to hope that those who stayed up during election night didn’t wait this long before catching some sleep.

In relation to health and social care, what’s in store for us?

Paul Burstow, Carers Minister

Paul Burstow (now Carers Minister) & Tom Brake MP with local carers earlier this year

The big worry was that there would be no reform of social care in England. But the good-as-could-hope-for news is that a(nother) commission will report within one year on ideas including a voluntary insurance scheme to protect assets of those in residential care (Tory policy) and a partnership scheme proposed in the Wanless Review (Lib Dem policy).

People receiving support and carers must be a part of this commission.

For carers specifically, the new Government has said they will use direct payments to carers and better community based provision to improve access to respite care. We’ve heard on the grapevine that the new Health team (Andrew Lansley MP is Secretary of State and Paul Burstow MP is Minister for Care Services) are keen to address PCTs not using the Carers’ Strategy money for carers. We hope to work with them on this.

And the Government are proposing elections for part of the Primary Care Trust boards. Carers – get in there!!

Other announcements include:

  • Help elderly people live at home using community support programmes and adaptations
  • Retain winter fuel allowance, free TV licence, free bus travel, eye tests and prescriptions for older people
  • Restoration of earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011 and will rise by the higher of average earnings, prices or 2.5%.

So this is the good news. The bad news, that we must all expect, will be the £6bn savings to be announced in a new budget promised within 50 days of taking office. But that’s only for this financial year. April 1st 2011 is the date that many local authorities dread, which I’ll explain about more in a later blog.

Take care

Gordon

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May 20, 2010 - Posted by | Carers Strategy, Conservatives, Health, Liberal Democrats, Social Care | , , , , ,

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