Just one English council has a “low” threshold for social care after Calderdale Council in Yorkshire increased eligibility for support to “moderate” needs.
Sunderland is now the only council with a low threshold, under government guidance on access to care.
Though Calderdale did not support all service users with low needs, it did provide for those unable to carry out one or two personal care tasks, through one-off pieces of equipment.
The decision was taken as part of the council’s budget-setting process for 2011-12.
Phil Shire, head of wellbeing and social care, said: “We intend to continue to provide some services to people who will no longer be eligible because of the move to ‘moderate’. This is through our policy of providing direct access to a range of services through our Gateway to Care first point of access. The services include the Careline community alarm service and provision of telecare; the community frozen meals service; and provision of equipment and simple adaptations to support people with daily living tasks.”
Eight out of 10 councils in England are expected to deny support to people with moderate needs and below from April, Community Care research found.
There has also been a large increase in the proportion of authorities setting a critical threshold for care, from a 3% baseline last year. In these cases, formal care services or personal budgets funded by the council are reserved to people with life-threatening needs, those unable to carry out vital personal care tasks, family or social responsibilities and people at risk of serious abuse.
Sunderland defended its decision to retain a ‘low’ threshold, in the context of government cuts.
“In Sunderland we see prevention and early intervention as the best way to meet needs and achieve positive outcomes with local people,” said Neil Revely, executive director of health, housing and adult services. “We are focusing on reablement to rebuild and maintain their independence and we are investing energy in personalisation and self-directed support to transform the services people choose.
“We see this approach as not only delivering the best outcomes for our citizens but also the most cost effective solutions and so the best way of managing with reduced resources.”
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