The Department of Health will address the issue of tightening eligibility criteria for adult social care, director general of social care David Behan said yesterday.
He told the National Children and Adult Services Conference that the DH would ask the Commission for Social Care Inspection to examine the issue. He said he also wanted to hold discussions with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services to “get some hard evidence” on the reasons behind tightening eligibility criteria.
A Community Care survey published in July found that 30% of councils had either tightened eligibility criteria over the past 18 months or were reviewing their service thresholds with a view to increasing them.
Referring to this trend, Clive Newton, national development manager for health and social care at Age Concern England, described the DH’s ambition of redirecting adult care resources from acute services to prevention as an “Alice in Wonderland” policy.
Newton said whenever he raised this with officials he was referred to the Partnerships for Older People Projects (Popps) pilots, which are designed to test preventive services. But he described them as “a short-term project of limited sustainabilility”.
However, Behan said discussions were taking place about rolling out Popps nationally and pointed to last week’s interim evaluation of the projects, which suggested they had triggered a “significant” cut in emergency hospital admissions.
He also said there were opportunities for councils to invest in preventive services by drawing on resources from services other than social care, such as housing.
National Children and Adult Services Conference www.ncasc.co.uk