Green Paper on Social Care Out ‘Before the End of the Year’

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The long-awaited Green Paper on social care in England is due to be published “before the end of the year”, according to a new Commons briefing on the subject.

The proposals in the Green Paper are aimed at ensuring the care and support system is sustainable in the long term, and the Conservative Government has said that it will include topics on health and social care integration, carers, the workforce and technological developments. The government is also to consider domestic and international comparisons.

The paper was a Conservative Party manifesto commitment during its 2017 general election campaign, as well as pledges about how individuals pay for social care.

Eligibility

At present, the NHS is mostly free at point of use, except for dentistry and prescriptions for some people.

For social care, a means test is applied to work out if someone who needs it is eligible for support from the local authority. Care home residents with capital below £23,250 (which can include the value of their home) are eligible for such support, but even then have to contribute their income and some of their capital (if in excess of £14,250) towards the costs.

If someone is receiving support at home, local authorities are free to establish their own frameworks for charging, but the value of a person’s home will always be disregarded. There are no limits to how much a person can spend on social care funding, which can lead to “catastrophic” social care bills.

A Green Paper consulting on the future of social care is not the first attempt to address the topic in recent years. The issue has been rumbling on since 1999.

In 2017, the Conservative Party pledged the paper would “address system-wide issues to improve the quality of care and reduce variation in practice. This will ensure the care system works better with the NHS to reduce unnecessary and unhealthy hospital stays and delayed transfers of care, and provide better quality assurance within the care sector”.

Quality and safety

The principles said to guide the government’s thinkings are quality and safety, whole-person, integrated care, a valued workforce, better support for families and carers, sustainable funding, greater security for all and higher control given to those receiving support.

David Lockwood, Finders International’s Public Sector Development Manager, said: “It will be interesting to see how the government sets out to tackle how funding for social care will work to create a better, fairer and more sustainable model. From our work with public services, we see time and again the strain providing social care places on services. Things have to change—the question is, can this long-awaited Green Paper offer the solutions to such a complex issue?”

Finders International runs regular deputyship development days for all those in the public and private sector who manage client finances as property and affairs deputies under the Court of Protection.