Time to clear up Care Act confusion
By Guest Blogger LEON SMITH
Executive vice president, Nightingale Hammerson
As we reach the end of 2014, we can look back on another fun-filled year for the care sector! Working in the sector certainly cannot be considered to be dull. We now have on the horizon the implementation of the Care Act to look forward to, and indeed many aspects of the Care Act are very positive. A significant part of this, from a financial prospective, is of course that part of the Act relating to the Dilnot recommendations.
At a recent consultative event arranged by the DOH it was clearly illustrated that there are still many unanswered questions. These relate to the “nitty gritty” of implementation. What exactly are the consequences going to be, either intended, or more worryingly, unintended? I have no doubt that the mechanics regarding the logistics of implementation will be ironed out over a period of time, albeit we are now only 16 months away from full implementation.
What is of more concern are the unintended consequences for the market. It is of course, a truism to state that if it were not for the private-pay sector, some homes simply would not be in a financial position to provide local authority commissioned care.
What is still not clear, is whether the income stream from privately funded clients will be maintained. Will there be pressure on providers to accept more people at a local authority rate? What will the clients make of the new system? One of the major problems of the current funding regime is that it is largely incomprehensible to older people seeking care, and/or their families.
Will the Care Act now bring about transparency and simplification? From what I have seen so far, this does not seem likely. Anybody with a casual or passing interest in this whole subject, who does not work in this sector, might reasonably have assumed from the media coverage available that, (a) everybody’s care costs will be capped and (b) nobody will ever have to sell their home to pay for their care.
Sadly neither of these statements is true. It is vital that the Department of Health embark on a sophisticated communications programme in order to ensure that the reality of the situation is brought home to both current and potential future clients as a matter of urgency. There is not much time, and there is a lot of work to do.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.