Knowing the facts (but not all) on the fees info

Blog Post: 30 August 2017

To the unsuspecting British public the cost of social care is a mystery: Heads buried in sand it’s the bill that no-one really wants to consider saving for.

The elephant in the room, many only care to get the facts when a crisis occurs. So I was not in the least surprised to read in the Independent that the majority of elderly people in social care have no idea how much it costs.

A survey of 2,000 people within the social care sector showed 71 per cent had “no idea and couldn’t even guess” the cost of their care.

Just five per cent knew the figure precisely. The report added that a third of those being cared for said it was themselves who paid, while 26 per cent said it was their family and friends and 24 per cent said it was the NHS or local authorities.

Some 68 per cent said they wanted to be in control of finances, with the majority of these wanting this to be in partnership with their close family and friends (63 per cent), and just 12 per cent saying they wanted their local authorities to have control over it.

These findings offer an insight I’m sure into the broader problem we face on future funding of social care, but the article failed to mention whether all of those questioned had mental capacity.

Many of our residential and nursing homes have service users who struggle to manage their own affairs – they may wish to, just as many would prefer to live in their own homes – but their care needs cannot be met successfully in any other way.

The finding (such as they are) may create headlines; indeed, Younifi, which carried out the research appears to have capitalized on the data itself with MD complaining that councils were falling “a long way short” of targets for people managing their own care.

I can’t help feeling the criticism is a little unfair.

In Dudley, information exchange is improving with the new Multispecialty Community Provider (MCP) vanguard – All Together Better – initiative.

It’s a new borough partnership between local NHS, care organisations like WMCA, general practitioners and the voluntary sector.

The MCP model in Dudley aims to develop a network of integrated, GP-led providers across health and social care, each working at a level of 60,000 people.

One of the key areas that will be transformed through the development of a multi-specialty community provider model is end of life care.

Hard work for all concerned, but the potential for improvement in social care is huge if we get it right.