This last week I have met with 3 different providers of care:
- hospice care from tynedale hospice at home, with whom I met on Saturday. I know the team well and have fundraised for them in the past, but it was really good to meet George, the new chairman.
- on Friday I also met a number of the domicilliary care providers. They do a vital job visiting the elderly 3-4 times a day. However, it is clear that the model of care provision is particularly complicated and expensive to provide in rural areas. We are working on this and looking to meet with the county council soon.
- finally I have spent a lot of time with specific care homes of late, from discussions with Wellburn, to visiting multiple other homes lately like Helen McArdle's home in Hexham at Acomb Court.
The problems faced by all care providers and the state remain the same.
How do you provide quality care for our loved ones, in a safe and reasonably regulated setting, without making the care provision uneconomic for either the state, whether it be county council or the commissioning group, or the local business doing the providing, to run?
This is not easy.
All this in the context of the government plan to introduce a cap on adult social care costs in 2016 which will limit the amount an individual has to contribute towards the cost of their social care.
- This will lead to a £72,000 lifetime cap as to what an individual is required to pay
- The means tested threshold will rise from £23,250 to £118,000
- A deferred payments scheme will be introduced in 2015 to which should ensure that no one is forced to sell their home in their lifetime to cover care costs
What is beyond dispute are two things:
The present system unfairly penalises those who were thrifty in their adult lives and saved, such that they are forced to sell their homes to pay for care. This new reform will give certainty in old and middle age.
As we all live longer, as health outcomes get better and better, care of our ageing population is going to be a key fundamental of the way we, as individuals, and government, as the custodians of national purse, live our lives. Tyne