The Department of Health’s personalisation agenda should be extended to long-term residential care, a leading academic said today.
In a contribution to the DH’s public debate on the future of care and support, Professor Jon Glasby, of Birmingham University’s Health Services Management Centre, said personalisation should form the basis of the planned reform of long-term-care.
His paper said that people with similar levels of need should face the same charging system and receive the same allocation of funding, regardless of whether they spent their personal budget on domiciliary or residential care.
Currently, direct payments and personal budgets are limited to community-based services or short-term residential care, while council expenditure on service users is determined in part by whether they are in a care home or receiving care at home, rather than purely based on need.
Two different approaches
“If someone needs support, then the current system has two different approaches – depending on whether you stay in the community or go into a care home. In our approach, both people would get access to the same level of funding – irrespective of whether they chose to use it on community services or on care home provision,” Glasby said.
He added: “The experience from social care is that people receiving personal budgets can find more creative and innovative ways of meeting needs that make better use of scarce resources than under the old system.”
Over the next three years, councils have been charged with implementing the personalisation agenda, encompassing personal budgets and universal access to information on care for all users, while the DH is planning a green paper on the long-term future of care next year.
Bring agendas together
Glasby’s report called for the two agendas to be brought together, saying self-directed support could provide some of the solutions to the problems around long-term care and its funding. These include demographic pressures, increased expectations and widespread confusion about the current system.
It added: “In our view, long-term care should be provided free of charge and funded by general taxation. After all, this is how our health care is provided. … However, other funding options would be just as possible under a future system of self-directed support.”
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