Displaying items by tag: social care
Hundreds of care homes are refusing new admissions for 14 to 28 days because of Omicron, increasing pressure on hospitals unable to discharge patients into the community, and adding another pressure to an already challenging situation. 70% of MHA homes, a not-for-profit care provider, are refusing new residents because of Covid outbreaks and staff shortages. Four Seasons Healthcare has two or more cases in 40% of its homes: government guidance is not to accept new arrivals. The chief executive of NHS Providers said, ‘Patients deteriorate if they are fit to discharge but can’t leave their hospital beds’. He said it was also difficult to find room for serious cases coming via accident and emergency departments. Temporary settings may be installed to allow hospital patients to be released, and some health trusts have set up temporary care facilities in hotels with live-in staff from abroad.
The number of children in care, which has risen 36% in a decade, is putting ‘unprecedented pressure’ on local authorities' budgets. The Government provides councils with £4.8bn for ‘vital front-line services’, including children's care. Funding a child in residential care costs £4,000+ per week. In 2015, 69,000 children were in care: by March 2020, the figure was 80,080. The rise is explained by, among other things, foster carers not keeping up with increased demands. With local authorities spending more time on this growing need, they are unable to do more early family intervention rather than taking children into care. A trial scheme across five counties is looking to address this challenge. The No Wrong Door programme, funded by the Department for Education and the local authority, brings therapists, police and social workers together within the home to work with families before they reach crisis. Since April, the number of children in care aged 12-17 has reduced by 5%.
The National Health Service has been providing free health care to all UK citizens based on their need for medical care rather than their ability to pay for it since its inception in 1948. This mandate does not extend to social care such as home care and residential care, which is means-tested. There is no overall limit on social care costs so thousands of frail and elderly people have had to sell their homes to pay for residential care. See Only those with savings, homes and assets worth less than £23,250 currently receive free council help with residential care. On 8th September Boris Johnson revealed plans to fund England’s social care and help the NHS recover after the pandemic. Employees, employers and self-employed will pay 1.25p more in the pound for National Insurance from April 2022. It will raise £12bn annually for the NHS and a proportion will be moved into social care over the next three years. Care cost contributions are to be capped at £86,000 from October 2023. If someone has less than £20,000 their care will be free and from £20,000 - £100,000 costs will be subsidised on a sliding scale.
Social care organisations want Boris Johnson to fix the broken care system.They want long overdue changes to funding social care and ‘immediate’ cash injections to cover costs incurred during the pandemic. Councils need money for new technology and fairer deals for care staff. In 2019 Boris Johnson vowed to fix the funding crisis ‘with a clear plan we have prepared’, but discussions around changing costs are still ongoing. Social care is not free to vulnerable people with assets over £23,500. Below that they receive council help. Consequently, thousands of people annually must sell their homes to pay for their care. Charities warned that ‘every week of dithering means an extra 13,000 pensioners being denied vital help’. It is believed the PM supports a £50,000 lifetime cap on care costs to shield pensioners from catastrophic bills. However Rishi Sunak is concerned over finding £10billion a year to pay for this.
Over-fifties could pay £300+ a year extra National Insurance, to ‘fund a fairer social care system’. The idea proposed by Damian Green is part of a range of measures to fill a funding gap for pensioners. The Pilgrims’ Friend Society said that while some people might struggle to make the payments, they supported it because ‘we know as Christians that we're giving to the general good. For some people who are barely getting through, that would mean the difference between paying the rent or not. But for people who are managing, it would be OK. It should be for everybody because everybody is going to become old unless they die young.’ The proposed model of state pension is that everyone will be entitled to a basic safety net of support, with individuals encouraged to top up this provision from their own savings or housing wealth. Proposals including winter fuel allowance tax and surcharges have been labelled ‘a tax on getting old’.
Sir Ed Davey put the ‘Homelessness End of Life Care Bill’ before Parliament on Wednesday, but it will need to win the support of MPs and ministers to move forward and end the current situation where people with cancer or long term illnesses are ‘dying on doorsteps’. The plan is to offer homeless people with terminal illnesses a right to housing. Under current laws, many who are sleeping rough, living in hostels or staying on friends’ sofas are not automatically eligible for long-term housing. The local authority deems they have other options. The number of people sleeping rough in England hit a record high of 4,751 last autumn, double the 2010 number. Those who are expected to die in the next twelve months need palliative care. They are cold and in pain, possibly in hostels with staff who have no medical training and no painkillers or drugs to manage people who are dying.