Home Care Reduction Plan Could Result In ‘Pensioner Distress’

Campaigners say elderly people will deteriorate under council proposals to cut home care, say campaigners, writes Martin Croucher. Bromley council is planning to ‘ration’ home health care for the elderly so that only those with the most serious disabilities will have access to services.

Age Concern claim that cuts to ‘low-level’ health care, such as visits by social workers to help with washing and cooking, would lead to an increase in people going into care homes.

An Age Concern spokesman said: “It is the small things which matter the most. When you get those services being cut then you will get more people going into care homes. If people can’t look after themselves in their own homes they will deteriorate.”

A report by the Local Government Association (LGA) at the beginning of the year said that seven out of ten councils are cutting low-level social care services. A Bromley council spokesman said: “The demand for home care services is high in Bromley and continues to grow above the national average.

“In March we amended the criteria used to determine eligibility for council-funded services to cover those with the higher levels of need and dependency. These changes will be introduced later in the year and will not apply to existing users.”

The council has delayed making the changes until the autumn in order to set up a ‘brokerage’ service using Age Concern Bromley as a provider of care. The scheme would apply only to those who could fund their own home care.

LGA chairman Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said: “Hundreds of thousands could lose or have to pay for the little services which mean so much, like help with washing or getting dressed. Councils want to provide the services they need and help them safely through the day, but are increasingly unable to do so because central government funding has not kept pace with the demands of an ageing population.”

The news follows a recent inspection report which revealed that none of the 52 nursing and care homes in the borough were of an ‘excellent’ standard.