Care Bill [Lords]

Written evidence submitted by the Civil Service Pensioners Alliance (CB 31)

Dear Sirs,

I am writing on behalf of the Civil Service Pensioners Alliance (CSPA)

The Civil Service Pensioner’s Alliance (CSPA) has around 60,000 members and represents the interests of retired Civil Servants, Public Sector Workers and Older People.

We have watched the progress of the Care Bill with interest and there are many good ideas that could be beneficial given the right resources, advice and support. However, there is equally confusion on how the new system will operate, how it will be funded, and if it will really deliver the joined up, whole person care that we all hope for.

This morning I took a call from one of our members who spoke at length about the difficult situation he finds himself in. I think that this may be useful evidence for you to keep in mind about how the system currently impacts on real people.

Our member, who is 88 years old, contacted CSPA about his wife who is 94 and in hospital with multiple health problems. He wanted her to be discharged into a residential care home and had requested this.

After many years of managing at home with a Carer that he pays for himself, his own health means that he is no longer able to cope with looking after his wife. However, he is being pressured to have her returned home by the hospital, which states that she is fit to leave.

Our member is aware that he will not qualify for means tested assistance with residential care costs and is willing to pay. But has had a phone call from Social Services to say that they will not agree to placing his wife, citing that they would then become responsible for the costs of his wife’s care when he ran out of money.

Our member has a supportive GP who has volunteered to speak to the Social Services to make clear that his patient is no longer capable for looking after his wife. At the time of the conversation the GP had not heard from Social Services.

This is only one case of the many that are happening on a daily basis, where the system is going terribly wrong for many older people with a sense of duty to care for their partner or spouse for as long as they are physically able. When they can no longer do this they find that they are cast adrift without support and met with brick walls and "hardened attitudes" from fund- starved service providers.

We remain concerned that this problem is only set to get worse with the ageing population. I hope this case illustrates that those that are able to fund care themselves are also experiencing an unacceptable lack of support.  

January 2014

Prepared 31st January 2014