In the wake of the white paper on social care and in light of recent revelations of abuse such as Winterbourne View, Worcestershire County Council is set to turn back the clock by a generation, with proposals that could force disabled people into residential care. Our new report, ‘Past Caring’, analyses the council’s proposals for a ‘maximum expenditure policy’, which would impose a cap on the value of social care packages, meaning that anyone needing significant amounts of support may have to go into residential care.
As well as criticising the council’s current consultation exercise, the report shows the proposed policy:
- Will mean disabled people get less support
- Will mean a deterioration in care standards and quality of life
- Could lead to disabled people forced into residential care, even if they don’t want to
- Could force disabled people to rely on charity for the help and support they need
- Goes against the recommendations of the Government’s flagship white paper on social care reform
- Could be open to a legal challenge
Whilst it is acknowledged that Worcestershire and other councils across the country are being hit by cuts in funding, the county council’s approach is flawed and wrong. Flawed, because any ‘maximum expenditure policy’ will have a series of knock-on effects for health and social care providers, which may end up costing even more; and wrong, because disabled people should be encouraged and supported to live independently. Institutionalising disabled people is not the answer to the social care crisis, in Worcestershire or anywhere else.
The report acknowledges the challenges facing local authorities across the country, but also highlights the principles of independence for disabled people, including a right to choose where and how they live, to be part of their communities and have control over their day to day lives.
Jim D Smith, Secretary of Worcestershire Coalition for Independent Living, points out:
“In a week when the Queen visits the County to open a new £60 million library it’s sad to reflect that the lives of some individuals in the County are threatened by such negative proposals. These proposals, if implemented, will undermine a generation of progress towards independent living and cause real mental anguish for individuals and families.”
It’s really important for local disabled people, their friends and families to speak up. The consultation finishes this month (July), and it’s crucial their voices are heard. It’s also vital they contact their local councillors and MPs to express their views before the final decision is made at the end of September.
For a template letter and contact details for Worcestershire councillors, go to our Letters & Briefings page.