A cap on individual care costs is to be introduced to avoid the ‘punitive consequences’ faced by those funding their own care, particularly for people living with dementia.
At the World Social Work Day conference, health secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the cap will be introduced as part of his social care green paper, however, it is not yet clear how this will be implemented.
Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Mr Hunt said: ‘By 2020, investment in general practice will have risen by £2.4 billion, which is 14% in real terms, including an additional £680 million in infrastructure and premises in the last two years.’
‘In my first few years as Health Secretary, the message I heard loud and clear from the NHS was that it did not want a huge structural reorganisation, so we are very cautious about changing statutory structures. We want to encourage integration, but in time, if the NHS says it would like the statutory structure changed, we will of course listen.’
Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), added that the government should ‘resist the temptation’ for major system reform.
‘We are pleased to see the Government’s latest detail on how it intends to make adult social care fit for the future, which is one of our most pressing public priorities,’ said Lord Porter.
‘Government should first make a down-payment on the green paper by injecting additional resources into the system to fund immediate funding pressures which are set to exceed £2 billion by 2020. This will enable the system to stay afloat until such time as the green paper reforms bring in new resources.’
Last year, Mr Hunt scrapped plans to cap care costs which were stipulated in the Care Act 2014.
Under this act, local authorities have the power to charge for a number of social care services and any compensation will be means-tested for each individual.
For example, in Tower Hamlets the maximum weekly contribution towards a community care package is capped at £250 a week – even if the cost itself surpasses it.
The green paper has been promised since the 2015 election and Mr Hunt admitted yesterday in parliament that while ‘there were some cuts to the social care system’ the budget is going up with £9.4 billion in additional resources, which is an 8.6% increase in real terms.
Due for publication this summer, the green paper will address the needs of adult social care across the UK, including tackling the ageing population, as well as plans to attract more people to work in the social care sector.