The government should part-fund personal care at home for people with high needs rather than make it free to ensure the policy is affordable for councils, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has said.
In its response to a consultation on implementing the Personal Care at Home Bill, Adass renewed warnings that the government’s estimated price tag for the legislation – £670m – fell far short of what was required, claiming its research put the true cost at £1bn or more.
With the Department of Health only committing to provide £420m a year – with councils expected to fund the rest – any shortfall could leave authorities out of pocket.
Adass proposed that the DH should commit to providing people with high personal care needs with a fixed sum a week to contribute to the cost of services, which it calculated could be worth as much as £100 a week for service users currently paying for care so long as the £670m funding limit were maintained.
Adass research has put the costs of providing free care for people with high needs as being at least £160 a week for older people and £203 a week for younger adults.
It pointed out that the DH’s consultation had suggested providing care users with an “indicative amount” per week, based on the average costs of providing free care. However, the DH said that councils should retain the flexibility to pay above the indicative amount for people with more costly care needs to ensure free services.
The call comes with the House of Lords debating the Personal Care at Home Bill today, and predictions that the government’s opponents could force through amendments in a debate next Monday that could prevent the bill becoming law before the next election.