Age Concern has called for a new national entitlement to care and support, based on need not means, in its response to the government’s pre-consultation on the issue, which closes tomorrow.
The charity’s call came in a report published today in response to the Department of Health’s six-month “engagement process” on care and support, which precedes a green paper next year.
Today’s study included results of an opinion survey carried out by Age Concern, which found 60% of people thought that care and support services did no more than offer the minimum that providers could get away with.
The poll of 2,500 people aged over 45 also revealed that almost 80% felt social services would only provide support if no one else was available to care for you.
Age Concern consultation events
The charity’s response also drew on 47 “listening events” it has held around the country, attended by more than 700 people, as part of a campaign around improving the quality of care.
Age Concern director general Gordon Lishman said the charity’s consultation process had shown people felt let down by the provision of services.
He said: “It needs straightening out, starting with a new national entitlement to services. This has to be designed around people’s needs, not bureaucratic concerns, and this can’t be done on the cheap.”
End to means-testing
This would end the system under which many people are excluded from public funding through means-testing.
Lishman said most people interviewed by the charity “would back the idea of paying more through tax or insurance so that support is there when it’s needed”.
The charity said the main complaints about the care system were that it was expensive and penalised those who saved, and of variable quality and often inadequate.
People felt the system was baffling and information not always available, proper support was often not in place when people were discharged from hospital, and care staff were poorly trained, poorly paid and did not treat people with dignity.
Age Concern called for any new care system to respect people’s dignity, enable them to maintain their independence, ensure fairness for all those needing care, give clarity about getting support, and be based on much greater levels of funding.
Age Concern’s is the latest in a string of contributions this week to the debate on the future of care and support in England by organisations from across statutory and voluntary sectors.
Right care, Right deal
On Monday, the Right care, Right deal coalition – comprising Carers UK, Counsel and Care and Help the Aged – said the existing system of locally-based eligibility for care should be replaced by a national system, to end the postcode lottery.
And yesterday, Hampshire Council’s year-long commission of inquiry into the future of care called for a significant rise in the number of people who could access publicly-funded care, by raising means-testing limits.
Hampshire inquiry finds ‘personalisation should not save money’