Costs for home care set to rise

Accrington Observer - - NEWS -

EMMA CURRY

CHANGES could be made to how much el­derly peo­ple and those with dis­abil­i­ties have to pay to­wards their care.

If the new pol­icy on how charges for non-res­i­den­tial care are cal­cu­lated is given the green light, 92 per cent of peo­ple will see an in­crease in the amount they have to pay.

Lan­cashire County Coun­cil’s cabi­net was due to dis­cuss a re­view of how charges for non-res­i­den­tial care are de­cided at its meet­ing on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 9.

The new charg­ing pol­icy would cal­cu­late how much peo­ple should pay for care which helps peo­ple to live in­de­pen­dently, ac­cord­ing to their abil­ity to do so.

It would op­er­ate based on a com­pre­hen­sive fi­nan­cial as­sess­ment.

The charges, which af­fect home care, outreach ser­vices, day care, sup­ported liv­ing, per­sonal bud­get ser­vices and the Share Lives Scheme, were last re­viewed six years ago, in 2011.

Cur­rently more than 51pc of peo­ple re­ceiv­ing non-res­i­den­tial adult care ser­vices are as­sessed as not hav­ing to pay, are funded by the NHS, or are ex­empt un­der the Men­tal Health Act.

A con­sul­ta­tion on the changes, which will be in­tro­duced from April 2018 if ap­proved, will be­gin in early De­cem­ber, to give peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to share their views.

County coun­cil­lor Gra­ham Gooch, cabi­net mem­ber for adult and com­mu­nity ser­vices, said: “The rates we cur­rently charge peo­ple are based on 2011 fig­ures and since that time costs have risen by more than 14pc.

“Given the county coun­cil’s cur­rent fi­nan­cial po­si­tion, this situa- tion can’t con­tinue. Un­der th­ese pro­pos­als, as with our cur­rent pol­icy, peo­ple would only be charged ac­cord­ing to their abil­ity to pay for their non-res­i­den­tial care.

“In­evitably some peo­ple would have to pay more, but most peo­ple would not see a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in care costs.

“Of the 5,694 peo­ple pay­ing for non-res­i­den­tial care ser­vices, 92pc will see an in­crease in care charges of less than £20 per week.

“For more than 4,000 peo­ple, this in­crease would be less than £10 a week. It’s cru­cial that the sys­tem is fair and as part of the on­go­ing fi­nan­cial as­sess­ment process, we al­ready in­clude a free check to en­sure peo­ple are claim­ing all the ben­e­fits they are en­ti­tled to.

“This would con­tinue un­der the re­vised scheme.

“The pro­posed charg­ing pol­icy is con­sis­tent with those in­tro­duced by other coun­cils across the coun­try and is in line with the guide­lines set out by cen­tral gov­ern­ment in The Care Act 2014.”

To view the cabi­net re­port, visit coun­cil. lan­cashire.gov.uk.

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