September 11, 2012
Transforming Local Services
A reshuffle is a strange thing.
I’ve followed the health reforms pretty closely so I’m relatively up to speed.
But often, new ministers find themselves in departments where they know only the bare bones of the policy. And they’re expected to turn themselves into experts overnight.
I’ve been an MP long enough to hear my fair share of new ministers read out speeches in the Commons and clearly have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. The crueller members of the opposition can sometimes make it a bit of a trial for them.
But the machinations of government can’t just creak to a halt as the new people find their way around. So new ministers rely on ever-present civil servants to guide them. They rely on ministers who haven’t been reshuffled to keep a hand on the tiller. And they rely on their fellow new ministers to be conscientious, decisive and creative about their own parts of the portfolio.
The little-known NHS Continuing Healthcare benefit can help the most vulnerable, but with the clock ticking thousands of people could forfeit backdated payments
If the main reason for a person going into a home is ill-health, they should be eligible for Continuing Healthcare, which means the NHS covers all the costs.
Time is running out for many of Britain’s most vulnerable people who are struggling to pay crippling care bills and could be eligible for several years backdated funding from a “secret” NHS scheme. If no one acts on their behalf before the end of next month the right to retrospective payments going back to 2004 will be lost.
Every year thousands of family properties are sold to enable mainly elderly people to meet the costs of their care. But if the main reason for a person going into a home is ill-health they should be eligible for the virtually unknown Continuing Healthcare, which means that the NHS covers all the costs, including accommodation. There is no ceiling on the amount that can be paid out, there is no means test and it is not age-related.
Anyone who is successful in claiming on behalf of a loved one could be entitled to have the payments backdated to April 2004, even if their relative is no longer alive. But applications must be submitted before 30 September.
Part Two: Food for Thought
Having finished my rant about the Government’s lack of backbone to adequately fund social care, here are some of the important points that were raised in the Social Care White Paper and Draft Care and Support Bill.
From 2015 the government will introduce national standards on access to care services. At the moment each council can set its own criteria, creating a so called postal lottery. National standards will help people to understand what they are entitled to.