Postcode lottery in care funding revealed by council research

Care Funding Personal Care Funding

With the Government having cut £1.3bn from councils already tightly squeezed care budgets*, research from Prestige Nursing + Care among UK councils** reveals the extent of the postcode lottery when it comes to care. With no central system of care funding, the research found huge variations between funding, information and financial support across the country.

Care Funding Levels: Cuts to council funding over the past year have forced many councils to raise the eligibility criteria for care funding, yet this has not been a uniform rise leaving different areas funding different levels of need. All councils surveyed gave funding to those with critical need, 94% give care funding to all levels of substantial need, but just 22% give funding to all levels of moderate need. Only two councils surveyed funds those with low needs.Additionally, 11% of councils surveyed broke these levels of need down further, into higher and lower need bands. Half of these provide funding for those with higher substantial needs and above, and the other half fund those with higher moderate needs and above, showing that even among frameworks designed to improve clarity, there is now increased levels of differentiation.

 

Level of Need***

Percentage of councils funding need level

Critical  – where there are significant health problems, there is an inability to carry out vital personal care or domestic routines and vital social systems and relationships cannot be sustained

100%

Substantial – where there is an inability to carry out the majority of personal care or domestic routines and the majority of social systems and relationships cannot be sustained

94%

Moderate – where there is an inability to carry out several personal care or domestic routines and several social support systems and relationships cannot be sustained

22%

Low  – where there is an inability to carry out one or two personal care or domestic routines and one or two social support systems and relationships cannot be sustained

6%

Care Funding

The research also found significant disparities between what people could have to contribute to their care even if their assets are below the £23,250 threshold for funding set by most councils,**** with a difference of as much as £352 per week in the amount that councils quoted for maximum possible care fees.

For example, the research found that one English council quoted £402 per week for non-residential care but a Welsh council placed a cap of £50 on weekly contributions –  a difference of 700% or £18,000 per year.

Even in England where there is no cap on fees, there are large differences, with several councils quoting maximum possible care fees around £200 per week – half as much as the most expensive council. The average maximum weekly care cost quoted for domiciliary care was £238 in Great Britain, and £284 in England.Lack of Information Held Over half (54%) of councils could not record the number of queries that they receive about care. This lack of information is likely to hamper financial planning as they will be unaware of the number of people in their area who self-fund and thus may eventually need council assistance.Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing + Care said, “Cuts to care funding are putting councils in an extremely difficult position. They are doing the best that they can, but reduced means are forcing them to juggle their resources and make tough decisions about the amount of care they can afford to provide. Each council prioritises their services differently and tailors their spending to balance their own needs, but the result is a system that is confusing and unfair for those requiring care as there is no uniformity between areas.”The differing levels of maximum potential care fees would be addressed by the implementation of the Dilnot Reports recommendations. We fully support this as it would really help to clarify exactly what people can expect – making life easier for councils and consumers alike. To remedy the problem of the postcode lottery as a whole, I would suggest we need to go further and introduce a nationwide system which would standardise the process.”Care funding  is a provision that drastically affects the quality and even length of life for those that receive it, and therefore its structure cannot be treated as a political or economic issue by the government. While the focus on localism on some issues is to be welcomed, in the case of care funding, a more devolved system simply makes what can be a traumatic process for users even more confusing.”

The Home Protection Plan can leave control of your home and payments of care funding fees under the control of your family

Postcode lottery in care funding