Harrow Council in London has become the latest authority to tighten its adult care eligibility to include only people deemed to have “critical” needs.
Under the fair access to care services regulations, people with critical needs are defined as those who have or face the threat of significant health problems, which could be life-threatening; face serious abuse or neglect; or are unable to carry out vital personal care tasks.
This means people with “substantial” care needs will be excluded from services, following care reviews.
Harrow said the cuts, which will affect almost 500 of its 2800 service users and follows a consultation, is in response to growing spending pressures, inadequate government grant and cost-shunting from its neighbouring primary care trust.
Last month, Community Care revealed 4% of English councils had a critical care threshold and 72% substantial; and 30% had either increased their thresholds over the past 18 months or were reviewing them with a view to raising them.
Harrow said the impact would be mitigated by it providing care to people whose needs would become critical within 12 weeks (as opposed to the current four to six) without services, those who would otherwise have to move to a different type of accommodation and anyone at risk of abuse.
Deputy council leader David Ashton said government under-funding was the crucial problem, adding: “We have to deal with the budget we have in the fairest way we can, protecting those most in need.”