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Adult Care Cuts: Cornwall Council Starts Consultations

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3:39pm 9th September 2013

Campaigners brand plans that would leave more people facing bigger bills for care in Cornwall as 'appalling.'

Cornwall Council says it is going to have to start charging more people for services that used to be free.

Consultations are starting as officials battle to save more than £40 million pounds.

Stuart Cullimore from Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance said: "Adult social care to me is one of the most important frontline services. We all get old. We all stand a chance of getting infirm but very minor compared to what the people who these cuts will affect are suffering from; these people are extremely vulnerable."

Cornwall Council says proposed changes to what people pay for adult care services and a new policy for transport provided by adult care will help to maintain services for the future and make sure that people are treated fairly across Cornwall.

Judith Haycock, cabinet member for Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing, explains: "Cornwall is facing a number of challenges now and in the future – reduction in funding and increasing pressure on our budget as more people need our help and support. These proposals, if accepted, will contribute around £3million to maintaining services. At the same time we need to ensure that the services we offer are fair for everyone across Cornwall.

"We want to encourage people to tell us their views and will be writing directly to everyone who is currently receiving a service, who may be affected. We're also holding these events around the county where people can find out more about the proposals and speak to staff about the detail.

"We know that for some people, these proposals will be difficult. However, if they go ahead, we would contact people individually, before anything changes."

Cornwall Council has already had to find £170m savings since 2010 due to cuts in government grant and the freeze in Council Tax for the last three years. The Council is planning for a further £40m savings by 2016 and a total of £100m by 2018. There are also pressures from an increasingly elderly population and more people requiring care and support:

In 2011/12, there was a 37% increase in people over 65 with an eligible care need.

21% of people in Cornwall have their day-to-day activities limited by disability and long-term illness

It's predicted that by 2033, a quarter of Cornwall's population will be over 65 and the number of people aged 85 and over will double.

Adult care and support accounts for £138m of the Council's whole budget of £526m (26%). As demand increases, there will be further pressure on the other services the Council provides.

Summary of the proposed changes to the way people pay for services

 1. Removing the maximum contribution for care and charging for the whole cost of care (maximum currently £250 per week)

This proposal would mean people would be charged for the full cost of their care, if they were financially assessed as being able to afford to.

 2. Including disability related benefits (DRB) and disability related expenditure (DRE) when assessing how much (if anything) they can afford to pay

This proposal would mean Disability Related Benefits and Expenditure would be included in any financial assessment. This means the amount people contribute towards their care may change, including people who don't currently contribute.

 3. Charging for services which are currently free, such as day services

This proposal would mean that people would be financially assessed to see if they could afford to contribute towards the cost.

4. Changing the way you are financially assessed for respite care

This proposal would mean moving respite care from within the residential charging policy to be included in the domiciliary charging policy. This would mean the amount people contribute towards the cost of their care may change.

5. Charging the exact amount, instead of rounding down to the nearest 50p

This proposal would mean people are charged for the full cost of their contribution and there is no automatic rounding down to the nearest 50p. This would mean people could pay a maximum of an additional £25.48 per year.

Judith Haycock says: "We also need to consider how the changes will be made. The sooner we can implement them, the greater the savings. We would need to contact everyone who would be affected. Many people will need a revised financial assessment.

"We will support people through the process. For instance, we can carry out a benefits check to make sure people are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to."

A new policy for transport provided by adult care:

Many day centres run minibuses to bring people in each morning and take them home in the afternoon. Some people also use an adapted car, taxi and the transport access patient (TAP) service. This transport is currently free for anyone assessed as needing it.

It costs around £1.8million a year to provide this transport. The proposed eligibility criteria would be used to assess when adult care would pay for transport to services.

Judith Haycock added: "Our role is to meet people's unmet, eligible social care needs, and if that includes transport to get to services, we will continue to do so. However, we also need to be clear where it could be reasonably expected that people have access to other transport options, that they use them."

Cornwall Council is writing to 4,800 people, who are currently receiving services funded by Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing and may be affected by these proposals. If people have not received a consultation pack by 27 August, they should contact the helpline or email address below.

The consultation is open to everyone, and the Council will contact providers, staff and community groups about the policies.

The consultation runs until 10 November 2013. The results will be reported to the Council's cabinet, which will then make a decision whether to adopt the policies.

More details and the full policy document are available at www.cornwall.gov.uk/haveyoursay. People can also call 01872 322861 or email acs-consult@cornwall.gov.uk to request a consultation pack.

Consultations:

Monday 9 September:
St Teath Community Centre, The Square, St Teath, PL30 3JB, 2.00-4.30pm,
Newquay Tretherras School, Trevenson Road, Newquay, TR7 3BH, 6.00-8.30pm

Friday 13 September:
Ord Statter Pavillion, Mylor Bridge, TR11 5NH, 2.00-4.30pm
New County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro, TR1 3AY, 6.00-8.30pm

Monday 16 September:
Redruth Community Centre, Foundry Row, Redruth, TR15 1AN, 2.00-4.30pm
Camborne One Stop Shop, Dolcoath Avenue, Camborne, TR14 8SX, 6.00-8.30pm

Monday 23 September:
Bodmin Territorial Army Centre, 7 Castle Canyke Road, Bodmin, PL31 1DX, 2.00-4.30pm
St Blazey Community Centre, Alexander Hall, Middleway, St Blazey, PL24 2JH, 6.00-8.30pm

Thursday 26 September:
Carleen Village Hall, Carleen, Breage, near Helston, TR13 9QP, 2.00-4.30pm
Landithy Hall, Church Road, Madron, near Penzance, TR20 8SS, 6.00-8.30pm

Monday 30 September:
Trethorne Leisure Park, Kennards House, Launceston, PL15 8QE, 2.00-4.30pm
Liskeard One Stop Shop, Luxstowe House, Greenbank Road, Liskeard, PL14 3DZ, 6.00-8.30pm

3:39pm 9th September 2013

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