Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Care cost shock: Bournemouth council may have to increase adult fees

MORE than a quarter of Bournemouth adults receiving council-funded care could be set for a hike in their charges.
Bournemouth Borough Council says that, in the face of a growing elderly population, it cannot continue to subsidise adult social care the way it currently does.
Thirty per cent of those currently being helped – around 400 people – could have to pay more.
In one proposed scenario, those with an income, savings or investments of more than £23,250 would have to foot the full cost of their care.
The council has launched a three-month consultation with service users, but says that only people who can afford to pay more will.
There are three choices on the table – increase charges from this autumn, phase in changes over a longer period or have a maximum charge for a limited period. The changes will affect services like day activities, transport, home care, night care, disability-related expenses and residential care.
The council says it currently spends £48.7million of its total £148.68million annual revenue budget on community care.
Judith Geddes, executive director at the council, said it was facing increased demand for adult social care. She added: “At the same time we are having to manage the services on a tight budget. We have given careful consideration to the services we provide for adult social care and how we currently charge for them.”
Susan Willoughby, chief executive of care provider Care South, said: “It is critical that at all stages there is robust consultation between care providers, local authorities and those people using care services in order to accurately assess and take into account the cost of care – and to ensure that the best and most realistic approach is taken.”
Samantha Acton, owner of Domestic Angels, a home help firm, said: “The council must ensure that those people least able to afford care and those who are particularly vulnerable are protected. This will very likely mean that people who can afford to self-fund will be asked to finance some or all of the services they require.”
Letters and questionnaires are set to arrive with service user and a helpline has been set up.
It will be open between 2pm and 4pm daily on 01202 451609.
As published in the Bournemouth Echo