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Wednesday 29 July 2015

Over 85s to get free telecare and Council to cut other care fees


Over 85s living alone in Cheshire East will get free telecare support while many other older people may find their charges for social care packages reduced.

The review of charges and services was carried out following a public consultation exercise earlier this year and the recommendations were approved by Cabinet this week.

Cheshire East Council plans to implement the changes later this year.

Cllr Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for adults, health and leisure said: “As a residents first authority we are concerned to protect the health and safety of our older people and those people requiring personal care support and assistive technology.

“Our mission statement is that no one will ever pay more than they can reasonably afford for care and support.”

The Council has 5,500 residents receiving some home care assistance such as washing, dressing, cooking and eating.

The review of charges and services is a result of new guidance to local authorities contained in the Care Act, which came into force in April 2015.

The Act also empowers councils to charge carers for some services they receive from their local authority.

However, Cheshire East has chosen to waive this option so that carers do not have to pay and instead receive full support from the council.

Councillor Clowes said: “Many of us will need care and support at some point in our lives and most of us will pay at least something towards the cost of our care.

“Everyone’s individual circumstances are different and so we will determine this on a case by case basis through financial assessment.

“We have chosen to reject the discretionary power to charge carers as we feel they should not be further burdened with extra costs when looking after a loved one.

“Although some people may find they will pay more for the care they receive, over 4,000 residents – a significant proportion of the residents we support – will be paying less or will see no change in the fees that they pay.

“And over 85s living alone will receive free telecare assistance in their homes so that they can be better protected and not feel that it is a service they cannot afford to have.

“This is extremely good news for those people and demonstrates our commitment to looking after the vulnerable and older members of our population.”

The Council’s Adult and Social Care team carried out an extensive consultation and public engagement exercise at the beginning of the year.

The key recommendations relating to free telecare for over 85s and no charges for carers, came from an all-party task and finish group sub-committee and were endorsed by Cabinet.

The review is intended to achieve fairness and equity in the charging system and to ensure that no one is financially disadvantaged because of their needs.

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