Home care charges should be reviewed as a matter of priority as part of an overhaul of domiciliary services to make them more personalised and responsive to users’ needs, charity Counsel and Care said in a report issued today.
The paper, launched with professional body Ceretas, said older people were facing increasing charges for care without getting the quality of service they needed.
The report welcomed the government’s pledge to provide free personal care at home for people with critical care needs from October 2010, but said it would be important that people with lower level needs were not excluded from access to care that could prevent them developing critical needs in future.
The report, which was informed by a roundtable discussion involving 22 sector representatives, echoed previous concerns about the quality of commissioning, including the practice of councils contracting with organisations to provide 15-minute appointments to service users.
It said there was no consensus on what constituted good commissioning, with tensions between costs and outcomes for users, and urged councils to “put quality and safety before funding” and commission more services jointly with the NHS.
The report welcomed the CareFirst scheme to create 50,000 apprenticeships in social care for unemployed young people, announced in the 2009 Budget, but warned this should not be used to push people into employment but to develop a more highly skilled and enthusiastic workforce.
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