Labour peer criticises care funding
Published on 22 January 2013 11:30 AM
The Government's indecisiveness over long-term care funding is leaving vulnerable people in limbo, a Labour peer has said.
Baroness Pitkeathley, a vice-president of Carers UK, lambasted ministers for failing to arrive at a figure for the cap on the costs carried by individuals.
The 2011 review chaired by economist Andrew Dilnot proposed a £35,000 cap while increasing the means-tested asset threshold to £100,000 - to be funded by additional taxes on Britain's older population.
Speaking at question time in the Lords, Lady Pitkeathley said the lack of certainty over care funding is often the most difficult thing for vulnerable people and their families to deal with.
'They are uncertain about the level of services they will have because of problems with local authority budgets and they are absolutely uncertain about what their financial liability will be,' she added.
'Saying that the Government will accept the Dilnot proposals, but not saying when or at what level is only adding to that uncertainty in a most unacceptable way.'
However, health minister Earl Howe said David Cameron and Nick Clegg would unveil plans to cap what he called the 'potentially huge costs' of long-term care before the March Budget.
Warning to the Government over dementia
As well as facing criticism for its long-term care plans, the Government has also been warned by campaigners that its case-finding drive for dementia could lead to a surge in patients' anxiety and distress levels.
Patients referred by GPs to memory clinics in England feel 'abandoned and ignored', a small-scale, interview-based study of 27 individuals with memory problems and 26 carers found.
The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, said the diagnosis process is slow and patients are given limited information between appointments.
'Many experienced tests and assessments as distressing, sometimes in settings that were perceived as alarming or potentially stigmatising by association,' the study's authors wrote.
While GPs are set to be given a directed enhanced service designed to increase case-finding of dementia in primary care, the study recommends that policymakers 'act cautiously' before urging more rapid diagnosis
Copyright Press Association 2013