Posts tagged "Andrew Lansley"

CQC whistleblower accuses Lansley

CQC whistleblower accuses Lansley

Kay Sheldon, who rang alarms over Care Quality Commission, says Lansley backed down when she threatened to sue. Read more…

Posted by admin - June 25, 2013 at 09:04

Categories: News   Tags: , ,

Andrew Lansley denies claims health department dismissed CQC concerns

Andrew Lansley denies claims health department dismissed CQC concerns

Ex-health secretary says he refused request from then chair of Care Quality Commission to removed whistleblower from board. Read more…

Posted by admin - June 23, 2013 at 21:03

Categories: News   Tags: ,

Burnham and Lansley in CQC row

Burnham and Lansley in CQC row

Labour former health secretary and Tory successor rebut claims as Cumbrian MP calls for immediate inquiry. Read more…

Posted by admin -  at 18:29

Categories: News   Tags: , ,

Hospital unit closures: can David Cameron face this painful surgery?

The coalition faces a huge political gamble over unit closures after Andrew Lansley pledged a moratorium before the election

In the runup to the 2010 general election Andrew Lansley, then shadow health secretary, made a whistlestop tour of hospitals where the A&E unit or maternity department was under threat. He pledged a moratorium on hospital unit closures and to bring in four new tests by which these always hugely contentious proposals should be judged.

Two-and-a-half years on, some of those units have closed and a new wave of local NHS plans to reorganise hospital services threatens to coalesce into a big problem not just for individual MPs but also the coalition, especially David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt, his new health secretary. However logical and well thought through the case for mergers, closures and the creation of promised new centres of excellence that will save X number of lives – “reconfiguration”, in NHS jargon – the public is usually incredibly, arguably irrationally, attached to the bricks and mortar of their local NHS. Even if care is imperfect there, it’s still local; which, to many, is what matters. Thus closing bits of hospitals, or entire hospitals – or, as Prof Tim Evans argued on Friday, a third of the NHS’s entire supply of hospitals – is a political gamble.

Eighteen months ago, during the “pause” in the passage of the health and social care bill, the prime minister made a series of cogent, well-informed and challenging speeches arguing that radical changes were needed in the way healthcare is delivered. Why? To cope with the growing demand for healthcare, and so rising cost, caused by ageing, the emergence of expensive new treatments and the increasing number of patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes. They constituted a defence of Lansley’s deeply unpopular plans to overhaul the NHS but also a prescription for thinking big and acting boldly on the NHS.

Most of Britain’s key medical leaders broadly agree with Cameron’s general argument. Indeed, recent months have seen several – such as Prof Terence Stephenson, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, a sort of CBI representing all doctors’ professional interests – break cover and, one by one, publicly state the case for shutting either a few or many units of one sort or another, such as maternity departments lacking midwives or enough births to ensure optimum safety, or a few or even many entire hospitals. Evans’s belief that the NHS could not only survive the loss of a third of its current estate of hospitals, but would be better for it, is the most dramatic intervention yet in an issue that Hunt will be unable to avoid.

Paul Burstow, a well-regarded and thoughtful health minister unexpectedly sacked during the recent reshuffle, reminded his erstwhile colleagues how potentially toxic mucking around with hospitals can be. Plans to shut the A&E and maternity units at St Helier hospital in Surrey, which his constituents use, were “dangerous and flawed” and would lead to “more mothers giving birth in the back of their car” because of traffic congestion on their way to a bigger, merged maternity unit further away, he warned within a few days of returning to the backbenches.

He ridiculed the idea that centralising hospital services – that less is more, that bigger is better – was the right response to the undeniable demographic timebomb. Reducing capacity in the NHS at a time of rising demand was fraught with danger, he added.

In west and north-west London much more dramatic plans are afoot. Local NHS leaders, both GPs and hospital doctors, are making the case for centralising A&E care in an area with 2 million people in it, which would see nine hospital units reduced to five. Last Saturday an estimated 3,000 staged a protest in Ealing, which has one of the hospitals which will lose key services if the reorganisation goes ahead. The local Tory MP and Labour leader of the local council were as one in opposing the plan.

As with those plans, and the attempt to centralise children’s heart surgery in England from 11 centres to six or seven, doctors are the ones advocating radical, unpopular change. Local MPs and councillors almost always oppose such downgrading, often alongside some local NHS staff. But cuts to hospitals’ income, pressure to treat more patients closer to home and the power soon to be wielded by local consortiums of GPs to choose where to send patients all threaten the long-term viability of at least some of them.

Medical leaders, the influential King’s Fund thinktank and even the NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals, all say that the NHS cannot continue with its existing stock of hospitals if it is to become fit to withstand the challenges ahead. The question for Cameron and Hunt is: will they listen, recognise the wisdom of that argument and endorse politically perilous decisions which could cost MPs their seats, or will they adopt another short-term strategy of opposing such schemes and hope the fuss dies down? A new NHS may be taking shape but a familiar problem is looming large.


guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds





Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by admin - September 21, 2012 at 19:53

Categories: News   Tags: , , ,

Andrew Lansley was a disaster who deserved to be sacked

The former secretary of state took a wrecking ball to NHS structures, alienated every interest group and patronised those who disagreed with him

There should be no sentiment about Andrew Lansley’s departure as health secretary, no matter how hard he worked, how gutted he is to lose the Tory health brief after nine years or how much he cared about the health service. By every measure of high political office, he was a disaster and he deserved to be sacked.

As a strategist, he failed to look for the most pragmatic way to achieve his desired outcome. He simply would not recognise that taking a wrecking ball to NHS structures – at a time of intense financial stress, rising demand and the necessity for widespread changes to clinical practice – was foolish. He compounded this mistake by imposing a structure that resembles a London tube map. Compare that with Michael Gove’s pragmatic approach of bending the existing academy programme to his will.

As a politician, Lansley managed to turn virtually every interest group against him, gave the opposition almost limitless opportunities to attack and lost the confidence of the public. He was so inept that even after the extraordinary spectacle of “the pause” – when the government just about managed to get the policy back into some sort of order – he again careered into a political ditch as it went through the Lords. Sharp, charming health minister Earl Howe had to tow him out.

Lansley was a shocking communicator, from ill-tempered media interviews to the hectoring tone he adopted with the professions. His idea of consultation was to repeat what he had said in the hope that this time you would finally concede he was right. Ridiculing managers as “bureaucrats” was just one indicator of his ineptitude – alienating with a single word the very people who had to implement his reforms.

So what has he left for Jeremy Hunt? The new secretary of state has arrived at a particularly sensitive time. The mandate with which parliament will lay down its priorities for 2013-15 and beyond is out for consultation until 26 September.

This will set the boundary between the political influence of ministers and the operational independence of the NHS commissioning board. Lansley had promised to take the politics out of the day to day running of the NHS. Now Hunt has to decide how he will interpret that. Having just taken on “the biggest privilege of my life”, Hunt may be surprised at just how little direct control of the NHS is envisaged for him.

It is tempting to construe Lansley’s departure as further strengthening the already near-omnipotent position of Sir David Nicholson, the commissioning board chief executive, but that does not necessarily follow. Hunt will not be there simply to provide a more credible front for Lansley’s reforms; he will want to be seen to set his own priorities. He can be expected to champion choice, and may well energise the use of private sector providers. He will also want to stamp out local fires on care rationing.

He can be expected to be pragmatic. While Lansley revelled in the detail, Hunt will want to focus on what works and what can be achieved.

A serious concern is that his priorities may be short term and election focused. On reconfiguration, for example, Lansley eventually came round to the need to concentrate some services in fewer, high quality centres.

Pushing through such changes is essential if the NHS is to have a hope of maintaining quality while finding savings, but it will require strong political nerves and an acceptance of how crucial these changes are to the health service’s future. The temptation for Hunt to stall on these changes until after 2015 will be strong. (He has done the usual constituency campaigning to protect local services, in his case Haslemere hospital and the Royal Surrey A&E, although, of course, it does not necessarily follow that he will adopt the same approach nationally.)

As the tunnel of public sector cuts gets ever longer, he will be needing to balance the great pressure in healthcare with the crisis in social care. Under Hunt, the NHS budget could get more permeable, moving money across to social services under the guise of integrated care.

And finally there is the Francis inquiry (into deaths at Stafford hospital), now reporting in October. In the absence of any stronger indication of his likely response, it is worth noting that as shadow minister for the disabled he expressed concern about the detrimental impact of bureaucracy and regulation on providers. There is a grave risk of the government over-reacting to the Francis inquiry. It will be to the benefit of the NHS and patients if he keeps his questioning approach to regulation to the fore when deciding his response.

This article is published by Guardian Professional. Join the Guardian healthcare network to receive regular emails on the future of the health sector.


guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds





Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by admin - September 6, 2012 at 09:06

Categories: News   Tags: , , ,

Coaltion rethink over Dilnot’s £35,000 old age care cap

Andrew Lansley had indicated government would ignore recommendations on funding of care and support

The amount of money that people will have to pay towards the cost of their care in old age could still be capped at £35,000 after an apparent U-turn by the coalition government.

The Dilnot Commission on funding of care and support recommended the £35,000 limit on the cost to the individual when it published its findings in July last year, but ministers including the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, indicated last month that the proposal would be shelved because of the £2bn cost to the Treasury.

But now the plans have been revived, according to a senior Whitehall source who confirmed the government was planning to implement the Dilnot recommendations, but claimed they had never been officially off the table.

They will be formally announced in the autumn as part of a coalition relaunch and will be included in a care and support bill. A draft version has already been published and will now be amended to accommodate the Dilnot recommendations.

Intensive discussions have been going on behind the scenes between Downing Street, the Department of Health and the Treasury to finalise the details of the scheme which could be implemented as early as 2017. The plans were discussed by the quad – David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osborne and Danny Alexander – at a dinner last Friday night, according to reports.

Under Dilnot’s plan, the “asset threshold” over which people would have to contribute to the cost of their care in old age would rise from £23,350 at present to £100,000. There would also be a £35,000 “lifetime cap” on costs, after which the state would pick up the bill for care.

This would allow individuals to buy insurance to cover the £35,000 initial outlay and save them from having to sell assets, such as their house, to pay for care costs.

In July, Lansley announced the government was considering a voluntary scheme in which elderly people would pay insurance premiums to the state to ensure their costs for care were capped, rather than Dilnot’s universal limit.

However, Cameron told senior Tories including Lansley that he was determined to press ahead with the plan and then informed the full cabinet at a meeting before the summer break.

The senior Whitehall source confirmed that the Dilnot conclusions were still under discussion but added that the plan had remained on the table, despite statements from senior ministers including Lansley that it would not stand.

“There has been a misconception that it was killed off. It wasn’t,” he said.

Last week, Clegg said: “I personally have felt we should go further and faster to deliver a properly funded system of social care for the elderly. That’s maybe something we can give an extra push to.”


guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds





Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by admin - August 16, 2012 at 08:23

Categories: News   Tags: , , ,

Private sector efficiency? This lie has to stop | Deborah Orr

The Conservatives continue to worship the profit motive in the face of blindingly obvious evidence that it does not deliver the efficiency they claim

A rumour has been doing the rounds – unfounded but all too credible – that health secretary Andrew Lansley wants to scrap the 49% cap on the proportion of private income that NHS institutions can earn. One wouldn’t want hospitals holding back, just in case they accidently nosed over into the forbidden 50%, would we? That might hamper private-sector efficiency.

It doesn’t seem credible that the Conservatives can carry on believing the private sector is more efficient while actually in the process of drafting in the public sector army (which I’ve heard prides itself on efficiency) to address the mess the private sector G4S has made of Olympic security. G4S are not only inefficient, but delusional and cowardly. They didn’t even admit they were fouling up until the last possible moment.

But neo-liberal faith in the magic of the profit motive continues, however facile the arguments are in theory, and however clearly wrong in practice.

The only real efficiency the private sector has is that its failures go bust, while public-sector failures must struggle on.

I’m particularly fond of the argument that says private sector involvement in health provision doesn’t encourage queue-jumping, but just makes queues shorter.

How does that work? Does it automatically mean there are fewer citizens in need of a certain operation? Or does it automatically mean that there are more experienced surgeons to carry them out? One of these must pertain if the queue is to become shorter, rather than be simply divided into two – paying and non-paying – the former obviously getting rather miffed if payment doesn’t help them to jump the queue. How can these free-market fundamentalists all carry on believing such sheer, utter, nonsense, even as their grand experiment crumbles around them?


guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by admin - July 14, 2012 at 10:28

Categories: News   Tags: ,

Social care: your questions answered

Our Q&A explores what the government’s new proposals for social care could mean for you

The government has decided to ditch most of the recommendations for funding long-term social care made by its adviser, the distinguished economist Andrew Dilnot. Instead, its progress report on social care funding reform proposes that people whose money is tied up in illiquid assets such as property should borrow from the government, repaying the money from their estates after they die. Here we explore what this means for you:

What is social care?

It is the care and support services that help frail and disabled people remain active, safe and independent for as long as possible. This might include helping someone bathe and preparing cooked meals. Support services can be provided in someone’s home, in a community centre or in a care home.

The costs are either paid for by individuals or on a means-tested basis by local authorities in the form of specific services or cash payments that enable people to make their own care and support arrangements.

What are the typical costs of care?

They vary enormously depending on the needs of the individual and where they live.

So why do we need any change from this system?

The number of older people, who make up the largest group of social care users, is growing rapidly: the number over the age of 85 has risen by two thirds since 2004. But local authority budgets have either been frozen or cut, demand far outstrips supply, and many people who need help with paying for care are getting inadequate support.

Older people are also subject to a postcode lottery when it comes to care funding: each council makes its own decisions about the criteria for qualifying for help. This means that two people with identical care needs in neighbouring towns may get very different support. AgeUK estimates that currently there are 800,000 older people who need care but do not receive it from the state, and that this will increase to 1 million by 2014.

What did Dilnot suggest?

That the government set a cap on an individual’s contribution towards care costs over his or her lifetime, with the government meeting any costs above the cap. Dilnot suggested a range for the cap of between £25,000 and £50,000, but thought £35,000 the most appropriate and fair figure.

In addition, he said people should pay towards their living costs such as food and accommodation, but this should be capped at £7,000 to £10,000 a year. Dilnot said that the means-test upper limit should be raised to £100,000 from the current £23,250, allowing people to keep more of the assets they have built up over the years.

He also recommended that people should be able to defer the cost of care: this is the only aspect that the government has adopted in the white paper.

Did experts think this could work?

In part. Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages and the Good Care Guide, was critical of the complexity of Dlinot’s proposals and the fact that they would help wealthy people protect their assets, while those with more moderate savings would still face footing the cost of their care.

AgeUK was more enthusiastic, and says a pilot for the scheme involving 8,500 people had worked well.

So what has the government proposed?

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said that while a cap on costs and an extended means test was the “right basis” for change, he could not fully commit to it. This means that Dilnot’s proposals would have cost the Treasury too much – estimated at £1.7bn a year and rising every year by the Dilnot review.

The Department of Health said: “It is the government’s intention to base a new funding model on the principles if a way to pay for it can be found. However, whilst it is the right thing to do, given the size of the structural deficit and the economic situation the country faces, the government is unable to commit to introducing a new system at this stage. Funding reform needs to be considered alongside other priorities and the right place to do this is at the next spending review. Decisions will be taken then.”

So, despite Dilnot saying last year that he would be astonished if his recommendations were kicked into the long grass, the government has decided to pursue just one of the recommendations for the time being. The surviving recommendation is that payment for residential care costs should be deferred for anyone who is unable to pay without selling their home. The aim is to implement this from April 2015.

How would this work?

The funding paper says: “People that cannot afford reasonable residential care charges without selling their home will have the choice to defer the fees until they are ready to sell.” There is no decision yet on what “reasonable” might mean. This type of scheme is already offered in some, but not, all local authorities.

Will interest be charged on the loan?

Yes – the paper does not suggest an interest rate, but says that the scheme should run on a cost-neutral basis. This means local authorities should be able to charge sufficient interest to cover their costs. Currently local authorities cannot charge interest, making it harder for them to offer deferred payment.

What happens if my care costs exceed the value of my home?

The local authority will cover the cost of the outstanding bill. So if your home is worth £100,000 and your care costs come to £150,000 by the time you die, the local authority will pay £50,000 towards the bill.

But if your home’s value exceeds that of your care fees, the difference will go into your estate for the benefit of your nearest and dearest.

Anything else?

To stop the postcode lottery described above, the government proposes introducing a national minimum eligibility threshold – a level of need at which people become eligible for care and support – from April 2015 to help bring greater clarity to the system. It also promises to improve the information available to people who have care needs.

Will the amount people have to pay back be capped?

No – the government has discounted introducing any cap at the moment, but says it will consider one set at a higher level than that proposed by Dilnot. It also wants to look at the contributions people are expected to make to their general living costs after reaching the cap.

It will consider whether those who gain most from the cap should be asked to meet the cost of reform: one way to do this would be to implement a voluntary scheme which people could opt in or out of. Wealthy people – who would benefit from the cap – could opt in and be charged, while those who wouldn’t benefit because their assets were too low in value could remain outside the scheme and not incur charges.

Will the deferred payment loan cover food and accommodation as well as nursing costs?

Yes.

Are there alternatives?

Yes – there are specialist products designed to help people pay for long-term care, but these are often complicated and expensive so it’s vital to get advice. Good sources of information include the Money Advice Service, Paying for Care, and AgeUK. If you prefer to speak to someone in person you can find a specialist adviser through the Society of Later Life Advisers.

Insurance policies are available to pay for immediate-needs care and pre-funded care. But pre-funded policies are not popular, not least because you may never need to claim on them and so lose your money. Immediate-needs care annuities are more commonly used by families wanting a hedge against part or all of the cost of care fees should their older relatives live longer than their capital. Two companies – Partnership and Axa – dominate this market.


guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds





Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by admin - July 12, 2012 at 08:05

Categories: News   Tags: , , ,

Elderly care: your questions answered

Our Q&A explores what the government’s new proposals for elderly care could mean for you

The government has decided to ditch most of the recommendations for funding long-term care made by its adviser, the distinguished economist Andrew Dilnot. Instead, its progress report on social care funding reform proposes that people whose money is tied up in illiquid assets such as property should borrow from the government, repaying the money from their estates after they die. Here we explore what this means for you:

What is social care?

It is the care and support services that help frail and disabled people remain active, safe and independent for as long as possible. This might include helping someone bathe and preparing cooked meals. Support services can be provided in someone’s home, in a community centre or in a care home.

The costs are either paid for by individuals or on a means-tested basis by local authorities in the form of specific services or cash payments that enable people to make their own care and support arrangements.

What are the typical costs of care?

They vary enormously depending on the needs of the individual and where they live.

So why do we need any change from this system?

The number of older people, who make up the largest group of social care users, is growing rapidly: the number over the age of 85 has risen by two thirds since 2004. But local authority budgets have either been frozen or cut, demand far outstrips supply, and many people who need help with paying for care are getting inadequate support.

Older people are also subject to a postcode lottery when it comes to care funding: each council makes its own decisions about the criteria for qualifying for help. This means that two people with identical care needs in neighbouring towns may get very different support. AgeUK estimates that currently there are 800,000 older people who need care but do not receive it from the state, and that this will increase to 1 million by 2014.

What did Dilnot suggest?

That the government set a cap on an individual’s contribution towards care costs over his or her lifetime, with the government meeting any costs above the cap. Dilnot suggested a range for the cap of between £25,000 and £50,000, but thought £35,000 the most appropriate and fair figure.

In addition, he said people should pay towards their living costs such as food and accommodation, but this should be capped at £7,000 to £10,000 a year. Dilnot said that the means-test upper limit should be raised to £100,000 from the current £23,250, allowing people to keep more of the assets they have built up over the years.

He also recommended that people should be able to defer the cost of care: this is the only aspect that the government has adopted in the white paper.

Did experts think this could work?

In part. Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages and the Good Care Guide, was critical of the complexity of Dlinot’s proposals and the fact that they would help wealthy people protect their assets, while those with more moderate savings would still face footing the cost of their care.

AgeUK was more enthusiastic, and says a pilot for the scheme involving 8,500 people had worked well.

So what has the government proposed?

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said that while a cap on costs and an extended means test was the “right basis” for change, he could not fully commit to it. This means that Dilnot’s proposals would have cost the Treasury too much – estimated at £1.7bn a year and rising every year by the Dilnot review.

The Department of Health said: “It is the government’s intention to base a new funding model on the principles if a way to pay for it can be found. However, whilst it is the right thing to do, given the size of the structural deficit and the economic situation the country faces, the government is unable to commit to introducing a new system at this stage. Funding reform needs to be considered alongside other priorities and the right place to do this is at the next spending review. Decisions will be taken then.”

So, despite Dilnot saying last year that he would be astonished if his recommendations were kicked into the long grass, the government has decided to pursue just one of the recommendations for the time being. The surviving recommendation is that payment for residential care costs should be deferred for anyone who is unable to pay without selling their home. The aim is to implement this from April 2015.

How would this work?

The funding paper says: “People that cannot afford reasonable residential care charges without selling their home will have the choice to defer the fees until they are ready to sell.” There is no decision yet on what “reasonable” might mean. This type of scheme is already offered in some, but not, all local authorities.

Will interest be charged on the loan?

Yes – the paper does not suggest an interest rate, but says that the scheme should run on a cost-neutral basis. This means local authorities should be able to charge sufficient interest to cover their costs. Currently local authorities cannot charge interest, making it harder for them to offer deferred payment.

What happens if my care costs exceed the value of my home?

The local authority will cover the cost of the outstanding bill. So if your home is worth £100,000 and your care costs come to £150,000 by the time you die, the local authority will pay £50,000 towards the bill.

But if your home’s value exceeds that of your care fees, the difference will go into your estate for the benefit of your nearest and dearest.

Anything else?

To stop the postcode lottery described above, the government proposes introducing a national minimum eligibility threshold – a level of need at which people become eligible for care and support – from April 2015 to help bring greater clarity to the system. It also promises to improve the information available to people who have care needs.

Will the amount people have to pay back be capped?

No – the government has discounted introducing any cap at the moment, but says it will consider one set at a higher level than that proposed by Dilnot. It also wants to look at the contributions people are expected to make to their general living costs after reaching the cap.

It will consider whether those who gain most from the cap should be asked to meet the cost of reform: one way to do this would be to implement a voluntary scheme which people could opt in or out of. Wealthy people – who would benefit from the cap – could opt in and be charged, while those who wouldn’t benefit because their assets were too low in value could remain outside the scheme and not incur charges.

Will the deferred payment loan cover food and accommodation as well as nursing costs?

Yes.

Are there alternatives?

Yes – there are specialist products designed to help people pay for long-term care, but these are often complicated and expensive so it’s vital to get advice. Good sources of information include the Money Advice Service, Paying for Care, and AgeUK. If you prefer to speak to someone in person you can find a specialist adviser through the Society of Later Life Advisers.

Insurance policies are available to pay for immediate-needs care and pre-funded care. But pre-funded policies are not popular, not least because you may never need to claim on them and so lose your money. Immediate-needs care annuities are more commonly used by families wanting a hedge against part or all of the cost of care fees should their older relatives live longer than their capital. Two companies – Partnership and Axa – dominate this market.


guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds





Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by admin -  at 08:05

Categories: News   Tags: , , ,

National minimum standard for elderly care to be introduced

Health secretary to unveil white paper that will also make it easier for elderly people to move to be near relatives

Changes to national rules on social care funding will be announced this week that will make it easier for elderly people to move around the country if they need to follow relatives.

Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, will unveil the reform on Wednesday in a white paper, which will also introduce a national eligibility threshold setting out the minimum care each elderly person is entitled to wherever they are in the UK.

The reforms come as cross-party talks on funding long-term care for the elderly appear to have broken down. Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, has taken exception to a unilateral decision by Lansley to publish a progress report on Wednesday on funding care.

In this report David Cameron and Lansley will announce that the government accepts the broad principles of a review by Andrew Dilnot, an Oxford economist, which proposes a £1.7bn scheme for funding long-term care.

The report recommendsthat the state should help with care costs if an individual has savings and assets below £100,000, rather than the current £23,250. It also recommends a cap of £35,000 on the amount that any individual has to pay towards their own care costs in their lifetime.

However, the prime minister believes the government is unlikely to be able to fund the scheme fully in the next spending round, due in 2014 – hence Lansley’s interim report examining the funding.

Wednesday’s care and support white paper will bring in two reforms to care:

• A national minimum eligibility threshold that sets out the care to which elderly people are entitled, reassuring them of a minimum level of funding for social care wherever they are, and ending what is described as a postcode lottery on funding.

• Rules on “portability” to make it easier for elderly people to move around the country, possibly to be nearer relatives, to ensure that care is provided as soon as they arrive in a new area.

There are currently 152 different systems of social care in England, covering every local authority area.

Councils will still have the right to reassess new arrivals in their area. But they will be expected to assess someone before they move and to give a written explanation if the assessment differs from the judgment of the individual’s previous authority.

Lansley said: “No one should fear moving house or areas because they are worried that they will lose out on vital care and support. By bringing in measures to ensure continuity of care when people move, they will no longer feel trapped.

“We know the current system of eligibility is confusing and unclear. By introducing a minimum eligibility threshold, people will have a much clearer picture of what to expect and not see access to care vary depending on where they live.”


guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds





Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by admin - July 9, 2012 at 08:33

Categories: News   Tags: , , ,

Next Page »