Barbara Keeley

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

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Barbara calls for urgent rethink on cuts to funding for care at home

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Barbara has expressed serious concerns following an investigation by the Health Service Journal and Disability United which reveals that NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups are drawing up new restrictions governing care for older people and people with disabilities.

Worrying information, uncovered by the campaign group Disability United through a series of Freedom of Information requests, reveals that a number of Clinical Commissioning Groups plan not to fund care at home but to move patients into care homes on the basis of lower cost. Information obtained reveals that thirty-seven NHS clinical commissioning groups in England are introducing rules about paying for continuing care at home that could see up to 13,000 people moved into care homes rather than being cared for at home.

Nineteen CCGs, including Trafford CCG, said they may not fund care in a person’s own home if the cost is more than 10% above an alternative such as a care home placement. Trafford CCG’s “Choice and Equity” policy states that the CCG will be prepared to support a package of care which keeps an individual in their own home “provided the anticipated cost of providing care is not 10% more than the anticipated cost of a care package delivered in an alternative appropriate location such as a care home.”

National charities like Age UK, Independent Age and Marie Curie have expressed fears about the policies, which they say could force thousands of people to leave their homes or deny them the choice to return home after a hospital stay.

Barbara has spoken out against the proposals and said that it was critical that any decision about the future care of a patient be based on needs rather than on cost cutting.

Barbara said:

“It is deeply worrying that thousands of older people or people with disabilities could be forced to move into care homes against their will just because that is a cheaper option than living at home with care provision. Evicting older people from their homes due to decisions about the cost of their care is unacceptable.

“The Government’s failure to fund our health and social care services properly is leading to overstretched budgets. Rising demand for care means that Clinical Commissioning Groups are having to provide more care with constrained budgets. It seems that a number of CCGs are choosing to reduce costs by restricting choice by not funding care at home. This action will hit vulnerable and disabled people the hardest. It could also deny choice to people at the end of life.

“Health Ministers should be acting to address these challenges on the costs of care. I am calling on the Government to act to ensure that the NHS and social care has the funding it needs.”

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