Party pledges on el­derly ‘don’t add up’

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community - BY ROBYNROSEN

WEL­FARE CHAR­I­TIES fear that both Gor­don Brown and David Cameron will not be able to de­liver on their par­ties’ pledges to sup­ply care for the el­derly.

In his party con­fer­ence ad­dress, Mr Brown of­fered sup­port to those with the great­est needs, not­ing: “To­day more and more peo­ple see their par­ents and grand­par­ents suf­fer­ing from con­di­tions like Alzheimer’s and de­men­tia. And for too many fam­i­lies, the chal­lenge of cop­ing with the heart- break is made worse by the costs of get­ting sup­port.

“And the best start­ing point for our Na­tional Care Ser­vice is to help the el­derly get the ameni­ties to do what they most want — to re­ceive care and to stay in their homes as long as pos­si­ble.”

But char­ity rep­re­sen­ta­tives have ques­tioned where the £400 mil­lion an­nual out­lay will come from. Jewish Care chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Mor­ris said that al­though such a scheme was long over­due, “it is not yet clear how th­ese changes will be paid for. It is vi­tal that we see an in­creased amount of money go­ing into the care of older peo­ple and are con­cerned that this ini­tia­tive could be funded from other ar­eas of pro­vi­sion of care for older peo­ple.

“All too of­ten we al­ready find lo­cal au­thor­i­ties do not have the bud­get to as­sess any­one who does not meet their ‘crit­i­cal needs’ cri­te­ria, let alone fund the care they need, leav­ing peo­ple in need iso­lated. And I am not sure I can see this chang­ing in the short term.”

Leeds Jewish Wel­fare Board chief ex­ec­u­tive Re­becca Wein­berg wel- comed “the com­mit­ment to free care. How­ever, this is an am­bi­tious com­mit­ment that can only be sup­ported if coun­cils are prop­erly funded. If, as has been in­di­cated, fur­ther sav­ings are to be made by keep­ing peo­ple out of res­i­den­tial care, there are huge ques­tions about the qual­ity of pre­ven­ta­tive ser­vices.”

At this week’s Con­ser­va­tive con­fer­ence, a plan was pro­posed to pay for care home fees for life in re­turn for a one-off pay­ment on re­tire­ment of about £8,000.

Leon Smith, chief ex­ec­u­tive of south Lon­don care home Nightin­gale was un­con­vinced, claim­ing: “The sums don’t add up. The av­er­age stay in a care home is usu­ally in ex­cess of three years. There seems to be no men­tion of nurs­ing care.

“For the Jewish com­mu­nity this has fur­ther im­pli­ca­tions. Al­though leg­is­la­tion re­gard­ing fund­ing of older peo­ple refers to the right of res­i­dents to have cul­tur­ally sen­si­tive pro­vi­sion like kosher food, no al­lowance is made to cover th­ese in­creased costs.”

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