Press Release: Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: January 30, 2010
Government estimates of the funding required to provide free personal care for elderly people with high levels of need have `significantly underestimated the true costs involved’ according to the results of a survey carried out by ADASS. The warning comes shortly before the House of Lords is due to debate the Personal Care at Home Bill, which faces adult social services departments with the challenge of delivering an additional £250 million in efficiency savings. According to the ADASS survey the true cost of the policy could be a minimum of £1 billion, with the overall cost to local authorities rising to more than twice the £250 million originally calculated by Central Government.
Calling for an urgent meeting with the Department of Health to help clarify these issues, ADASS President Jenny Owen said: “Government assumes that personal care needs can be met through an average package of 6.54 hours of care per week at £15.75 per hour amounting to £103 per week. However our research shows that local authorities have estimated a much more expensive average care package for a user with high needs. Information we have received from 61 authorities shows that the average cost of care is about £200 per week. Also, the number of existing self-funders in any given area is often unknown, as is the number qualifying as eligible under the Fair Access to Care eligibility criteria.”
And, she went on: “if the final policy means that people with critical care needs will not have to contribute to their care needs regardless of the cost, then funding pressures on local government will clearly be well above the sum estimated by government. Councils will additionally have to bear the costs of undertaking an increased number of assessments as people currently paying for their care enter the system to claim their new, free entitlement.”
Acknowledging that the central problem lay in calculating how much time should be made available for caring for people with high level needs, Ms Owen emphasised that ADASS “is keen to meet with the Department of Health to help to clarify and resolve these outstanding issues.”
The Bill is due to come into effect in October this year.