Carer hits out over financial support

Carer hits out over financial support

Friday, January 20, 2012

A FULL-TIME carer from Hadlow has launched a furious broadside at Kent County Council’s social services department over its lack of support for carers.

Eight years ago Philip Homewood, of Hope Avenue, gave up a career as a chef and baker to look after his 75-year-old father Bill, who received £160-a-month to pay for care.

  1. UNHAPPY: Philip Homewood with his father Bill, for whom he acts as full-time carer

The ex-submariner, who suffers from heart disease and arthritis, would pass his payment straight on to his son.

But now the council has forbidden that, leaving Philip, 40, to survive on a £55 carer’s weekly allowance.

“They’ve just taken away the financial support to which I believe I am legally entitled,” he said.

“My father decided to pay me because he doesn’t like outside people coming in. They told me it was OK at the Tonbridge office – I had a verbal agreement – but eight months later I received a letter saying it was not OK.

“The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing within Kent social services.”

Mr Homewood junior, who returned his payment card in protest, pointed out that an outside carer typically cost £10 an hour. Paying him to do the job gave the taxpayer better value, he argued.

“There just is no support for carers in Kent,” he added.

“We are all effectively working for about £1 an hour. I think it’s appalling that they can get away with this.”

Steve McIntosh, of carer support charity Carers UK, explained the system of Direct Payments was operated at councils’ discretion and many did not allow them to be used to pay relatives.

He said: “These payments can give people far more choice in how they get care, and often older or disabled people prefer care to be delivered by friends and family members.

“We would urge councils to give people the option of paying friends or family members.”

Mr Homewood, who has complained about the council to the local government watchdog, is now calling for carers to be paid the minimum wage. He also wants less bureaucracy in the system and the right to respite care.

“Research has shown carers receive so little support that many are developing mental health problems of their own or are being forced into poverty,” he said. “It’s absolutely disgusting. The Government needs to look at what they are paying carers. We save them billions.”

Anne Tidmarsh, director of commissioning at Kent County Council, said: “The council provides direct support to carers and indirect support via a number of carers’ support organisations and the NHS. A £200-a-year grant is given to carers as financial support to be spent on anything that will make their life easier for them.”

She said efforts to contact Mr Homewood had been in vain, and that she would welcome him contacting the council again.


8 Responses to Carer hits out over financial support

  1. Steve says:

    Tell me where I can get an outside carer for £10 an hour. The carers that Ryedale council provide cost £16.50 an hour and charge for half an hour even if they’re only there for 15 minutes.

  2. Pippa says:

    Unfortunately the direct payment scheme also leaves vulnerable adults open for financial abuse . If I found myself in a situation where a family member needed care then I certainly wouldn’t expect to be paid for it or use it as a source of income. Instead I would access the level of care needed and used the direct payment to cover outside help as that is the purpose for it not to be put in Mr Homewoods pocket and exploit his fathers illness . Disgusting that people still feel the need to expect something for nothing !!

    • Maz says:

      I’m so saddened to see your post Pippa! Here in Scotland family members (either resident or non-resident), cannot be paid by Direct Payments unless in exceptional circumstances. We do sadly, have exceptional circumstances and do employ a family member and it’s an essential arrangement for our family! When my husband goes into hospital and he frequehtly does! I have to go too and stay…however long it takes as medical staff cannot, by there own admission, provide the care required.
      Your comment re:disgusting only upsets Carers in my position.
      Incidently our D.P. does not pay ME! infact it provides cover for the only 2 nights sleep I have every week. I couldn’t function on any less and I defy anyone to find a better system. It’s actually very cost-effective as medical staff are a whole lot more expensive as is 24 hour supported care!
      If you haven’t walked in my shoes pleased do not judge!

      • Pippa says:

        I totally appreciate and respect a carers role. My comment was directed at mr Homewood not at the real carers . I admire anyone who cares for a family member just not someone I know is exploiting his position as a carer

  3. Ada says:

    Pippa, would you give up your job to be a 24/7 carer for £55.00 per week?
    How is Mr Homewood exploiting his fathers own wishes by accepting £40.00 per week Direct payments to provide far more care than a paid care worker could do for that money?
    Have you ever been a 24/7 unpaid carer?

  4. Pippa says:

    I apologise if my posts have offended any carers . As I gave stated my posts are aimed at mr Homewood who I can guarantee will know what I have said is the case

    I would also like to point out an error in the article which suggests mr Homewood gave up his career when infact he had been unemployed for last 20 years .

    As I have pointed out I have the upmost respect for carers but this article is not based on facts and I think that is an injustice in itself .

  5. Ada says:

    Thank you for your reply, but please dont bring your personal issues into a serious debate.
    You still havent answered my questions, have you ever been a 24/7 carer and would you be willing to give up your job for £55,00 per week to care for your loved one?

  6. Pippa says:

    How can it be a serious debate if the article is not based on facts . Yes I would give up my career if a loved one needed my care

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