What price the rule of law?
By John Shearer, vice chair of the care sector committee, Federation of Small Businesses John Shearer calls on local authorities to meet their obligations spelled out in the NHS and Community Care Act. One of the first questions asked when the NHS and Community Care Act was implemented in 1993 was “do local authorities have the duty to provide care after a person’s needs have been assessed as requiring residential or nursing care?”. Here we are almost six years later and there is still the same question on many people’s lips. The Sefton judgement made it clear that local authorities do have the duty to provide care for all those who have been assessed as requiring residential or nursing home care. However, local authorities counter this by stating that another judgement was handed down in the Gloucestershire case that appeared to say that the local authority could take its financial position into account when deciding whether to place someone or not. The result of this has caused nothing but confusion. As I