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Calls for UK Government to address care fees issues

Care fees advice organisation the NHFA Care Advice Line has criticised the current UK system of treating older people in need of care following their discharge from hospital.

This follows the Commission for Social Care and Inspection’s (CSCI) annual report “The State of Social Care” published yesterday, which calls for Government to rethink the way older people are assessed for eligibility to care services and support.

According to NHFA Care Advice Line, the elderly, particularly those who have to fund themselves, are being left to make life-changing decisions without support.

Local authority social services departments, it says, are failing to provide adequate care assessments or care packages because they lack the funds.

As a result, people are not being given important financial support, such as the Twelve Week Property Disregard funding, worth approximately £3,000, where local authorities should support people as if they were entitled to state funding for the first 12 weeks of permanent residential care.

Also, older people selling their homes to pay for care, who do not receive advice from local authorities miss out on the deferred loan scheme; and/or Attendance Allowance; and the Pension Credit Severe Disability Premium worth £112.95 for each week the property they need to sell is on the market.

Philip Spiers, Managing Director of NHFA Care Fees Advice, said:

“These problems are clearly a result of the under-funding of a system that’s bursting at the seams. It’s a disgrace and it’s not just about money peoples’ lives are at risk.

“They could be choosing care that is inappropriate if their needs were assessed or is more expensive than the local authority would be prepared to pay for if their money was to run out.

The consequences of being forced to move to a different care home or the family feeling obliged to pay substantial top-ups is a real fear for many.”

NHFA Care Advice Line

View the Commission for Social Care and Inspection report, The State of Social Care in England 2006/07 here