Council seeks views on increased home care costs to make £634k extra a year

Lincolnshire County Council is seeking views on proposals to increase some charges for those who receive care at home, in a bid to generate £634,000 in extra income per year.

A consultation will open on June 8 in response to draft proposals for changes to non-residential healthcare services which would have a significant impact on users.

The county council’s Adult Scrutiny Committee will be asked to comment on a report outlining the proposals on May 27.

Around 1,000 people would be expected to pay an increased contribution under the proposals.

Depending on the results of the consultation, and the size of the client base, 709 people would have their contributions increased by up to £10 per week.

Some 276 people would have their contributions increased by more than £10 up to £25 per week and 41 people would have their contributions increased by over £25 per week.

For all healthcare services, the council generates £32 million a year. Some £6.6 million is generated from non-residential healthcare (home care) contributions.

The annual expenditure on adult health and social care in the county is £142 million.

The council says the review is set within the context of significant changes to Adult Care nationally.

Most notably, they refer to the Care Act 2014, the government’s goal of deficit reduction, and addressing the increasing pressures of an ageing population.

Glen Garrod, Director of Adult Social Services, said: “The population of adults needing care in Lincolnshire is growing and there are a number of factors to take into account.

“We are predicting that the number of over 75s in the county will grow by 20% in the next five years and by 50% in the next 10 years.

“That’s both because the growing number of disabled people coming into adulthood and a growth in the number of elderly people moving to the county.

“In 2014 we secured from the national Better Care Fund £20 million to protect adult care services for 2015/16, however there have been no commitments to the next few years.”

The charges were last set in 2010, and 6,500 people are said to currently receive support. Those that are assessed as not having the finances to pay for their care will not be asked to do so.

The draft proposals in the report include:

  • Introducing a 72 hour notice period for service users cancelling care and describe the way that refunds are calculated for cancelled or missed care.
  • Making the date that contributions start the same for everyone
  • Simplifying disability expenses to make sure that people with similar needs receive similar payments by awarding them on a banded level
  • Financially assessing contributions against 100% of the cost of care, as opposed to 90%, and removing the current £250 maximum weekly charge
  • To introduce an administration fee to cover the cost of managing care for people who have savings and/or assets over the capital limits ie. self- funders
  • To consult on the opportunity provided by the Care Act to charge carers who receive specific support services, making it clear that this is not something the council intends to do.

The formal consultation, which patients will be informed of by letter and can be completed online, is expected to close on September 4, 2015.

Following analysis of consultation responses and outcomes, a final report will be completed by October 6 and reported to Adults Scrutiny Committee on October 28 and the Executive on November 3.

Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell, executive member for Adult Care, said: “We need to review our policy to make it fairer and easier to understand.

“If these proposals were introduced around 4,600 people on the lowest incomes would not see any changes to their contributions. People will continue to be financially assessed before they are asked to contribute towards their care.

“I want to reassure people that regardless of any proposed changes, if you are assessed as not having the finances to pay for your care, you will not be asked to do so.”

In February, the council put 70 home care contracts worth £41 million out to tender, addressing “cost pressures” and mapping a more efficient service.

The council say they are half way through the procurement process.