Vulnerable adults may have to pay full cost of their care as Cornwall Council tries to save £3m
Plans which could see Cornwall’s most vulnerable residents paying the full cost of their care have been set out in a bid to save £3million.
Cornwall Council says that is has to act to bring down its adult social care bill in the light of projections that in the next 20 years a quarter of Cornwall’s population will be over 65 and the number of people aged 85 and over will double.
However the proposals are likely to cause outrage among charities representing disabled people and pensioners.
Judith Haycock, cabinet member for adult care, health and wellbeing, said she understood that many people would find the proposals “difficult.”
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“Cornwall is facing a number of challenges now and in the future, reduction in funding and increasing pressure on our budget as more people need our help and support.
“These proposals, if accepted, will contribute around £3million to maintaining services.
“At the same time we need to ensure that the services we offer are fair for everyone across Cornwall.”
The proposals, which are being put out for a three month consultation from today, include:
*Removing the maximum contribution for care and charging for the whole cost of care. Currently the maximum is £250 per week. This would mean people would be charged for the full cost of their care, if they were financially assessed as being able to afford to.
*Including disability related benefits and disability related expenditure when assessing how much, if anything, they can afford to pay.
This proposal would mean Disability Related Benefits and Expenditure would be included in any financial assessment. The amount people contributing towards their care may change, including people who don’t currently contribute.
* Charging for services which are currently free, such as day services.
This proposal would mean that people would be financially assessed to see if they could afford to contribute towards the cost.
*Changing the way people are financially assessed for respite care, which would mean moving respite care from within the residential charging policy to be included in the domiciliary charging policy. This would mean the amount people contribute towards the cost of their care may change.
*Charging the exact amount, instead of rounding down to the nearest 50p. This would mean people could pay a maximum of an additional £25.48 per year.
Mrs Haycock said: “We know that for some people, these proposals will be difficult.
“However, if they go ahead, we would contact people individually, before anything changes.”
Cornwall Council has already had to find £170m savings since 2010 due to cuts in government grant and the freeze in Council Tax for the last three years.
The Council is planning for a further £40m savings by 2016 and a total of £100m by 2018. There are also pressures from an increasingly elderly population and more people requiring care and support.
In 2011/12, there was a 37 per cent increase in people over 65 with an eligible care need. An estimated 21 per cent of people in Cornwall have their day-to-day activities limited by disability and long-term illness.
It is predicted that by 2033, a quarter of Cornwall’s population will be over 65 and the number of people aged 85 and over will double.
Meanwhile, adult care and support accounts for £138m of the Council’s whole budget of £526m, roughly 26 per cent. As demand increases, there will be further pressure on the other services the Council provides.
The council is also considering a new policy for transport to day centres, currently free for anyone assessed as needing it.
The service costs around £1.8million a year and it is proposed this would change to being a free service only for those assessed as not being able to afford to pay.
Mrs Haycock said: “Our role is to meet people’s unmet, eligible social care needs, and if that includes transport to get to services, we will continue to do so.
“However, we also need to be clear where it could be reasonably expected that people have access to other transport options, that they use them.”
Cornwall Council is contacting the 4,800 currently receiving services funded by the adult care department to pass on a consultation pack. Anyone else who wishes to make their feelings known can log on to www.cornwall.gov.uk/haveyoursay, call 01872 322861 or email email@example.com to request a consultation pack
There will also be 12 public events held across Cornwall :
Monday, September 9: St Teath Community Centre, The Square, St Teath, PL30 3JB, 2-4.30pm, and Newquay Tretherras School, Trevenson Road, Newquay, TR7 3BH, 6-8.30pm
Friday September 13: Ord Statter Pavilion, Mylor Bridge, TR11 5NH, 2-4.30pm and New County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro, TR1 3AY, 6-8.30pm
Monday September 16: Redruth Community Centre, Foundry Row, Redruth, TR15 1AN, 2.-4.30pm and Camborne One Stop Shop, Dolcoath Avenue, Camborne, TR14 8SX, 6-8.30pm
Monday September 23: Bodmin Territorial Army Centre, 7 Castle Canyke Road, Bodmin, PL31 1DX, 2-4.30pm and St Blazey Community Centre, Alexander Hall, Middleway, St Blazey, PL24 2JH, 6-8.30pm
Thursday September 26: Carleen Village Hall, Carleen, Breage, near Helston, TR13 9QP, 2-4.30pm and Landithy Hall, Church Road, Madron, near Penzance, TR20 8SS, 6-8.30pm
Monday September 30: Trethorne Leisure Park, Kennards House, Launceston, PL15 8QE, 2-4.30pm and Liskeard One Stop Shop, Luxstowe House, Greenbank Road, Liskeard, PL14 3DZ, 6-8.30pm
The consultation runs until November 10, 2013. The results will be reported to the Council’s cabinet, which will then make a decision whether to adopt the policies.