Exclusive: Care Direct to be disbanded

Care Direct, the social care, health, housing and benefits
advice service for older people set up in 2001, is to be disbanded,
writes Katie Leason.

Six pilot areas were chosen for the initiative in Bournemouth,
Bristol, Devon, Gloucestershire, Plymouth and Somerset, providing a
gateway for information via telephone, website and local help

The plan was for the whole of the south west of England to be
covered by Care Direct from October 2002, and for the service to be
rolled out across England over the following four years.

But the Department for Work and Pensions, which took over
responsibility for the service from the Department for Health in
April last year, said this week that the Care Direct brand would be
“disappearing” as a single service.

However, a DWP spokesperson said the pilots’
“principles and successes” would be carried into
“new single gateway contact centres”.

The new service – the Third Age Service – will be
wider in scope than Care Direct, although the details are not yet

The DWP said £4 million had been transferred from the DoH
to the DWP for the Third Age programme to ensure it could build on
the Care Direct experience in a joined-up way.

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