Care: Elderly mustn't lose savings - Wales commissioner
Published: 4th Jul 2011 15:44:14
Wales' older people's commissioner says the elderly should not lose their savings to pay for their care.
Ruth Marks was speaking after a report said care costs in England should be capped so that people do not face losing large chunks of their assets.
She said older people were not well served by the current system of paying for care and that standards were not consistently high.
The Welsh Government said it had its own social services renewal programme.
The UK government asked economist Andrew Dilnot to look into how the system of funding social care in England could be changed because of concern it was becoming harder for people to get state support.
His report said elderly people and disabled adults should be offered council-funded home help and care home places if they have assets of less than £100,000 - up from the current £23,250. It said a £35,000 lifetime cap on costs would be fair.
Older people tell me that they do not want to lose a lifetime of assets simply because they need care and support”
Ms Marks said: "This report is a serious and balanced look at a very pressing matter.
"Social care funding should be fair, and clear, so that people are able to plan for later life.
"Older people tell me that they do not want to lose a lifetime of assets simply because they need care and support. It is right that the funding mechanism supports those who most need it, but that people who have saved do not lose out."
A maximum charge of £50 a week is being introduced for people in Wales receiving council home care services.
Councils will be compensated for loss of income under a £10.1m Welsh Government scheme which to end a "postcode lottery" in the amount paid, it was announced in March.
But there were warnings at the time that the move could put councils under even greater financial pressure.
We have already taken action in Wales to cap charging - we have introduced a weekly maximum charge of £50 for non-residential care”
An independent commission last year said users should have more personalised services, with standard eligibility rules applied across Wales for who should receive them.
Published last November, the From Vision to Action report warned of "striking variations" in what people could expect in different parts of the country. It found the system of planning, commissioning, and delivering services across 22 local authorities was not sustainable.
A Welsh Government spokesman said it was up to Whitehall and the UK government to respond to the Dilnot report.
He said the Welsh Government had its own programme for renewal of social services and that First Minister Carwyn Jones had signalled an intention to bring forward a social services bill.
The spokesman said the bill "could provide an opportunity to legislate on any relevant elements arising from the Dilnot report, if we so chose".
"We have already taken action in Wales to cap charging - we have introduced a weekly maximum charge of £50 for non-residential care," he said.
"We are pleased to see that the Dilnot Commission is following a similarly pragmatic and straightforward approach in their key recommendations around capping an individual's lifetime contribution towards care costs.
"We recognise that this is an issue of vital importance and the Dilnot report is helpful in analysing the problems and offering solutions."
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Care: Elderly mustn't lose savings - Wales commissioner. [Online] (Updated 04 Jul 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/167411-Care-Elderly-mustnt-lose-savings-Wales-commissioner [Accessed 21st May 2013]
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