Rishi Sunak, as
Britain’s new Prime Minister, has
inherited a social care system that has been described as ‘broken’ by experts
in the health and social care sector. A ‘cap’ on care costs is due to come into
force in October 2023 but the new Prime Minster has yet to address whether it
is to go ahead (or not).
What is the Cap on Care Costs?
The ‘cap’ will
introduce a new way of assessing how much someone should pay for their care.
The main idea is that no-one should have to pay more than £86,000 towards their
personal care costs during their lifetime.
Under the current system, anyone in England with assets
above £23,250 normally pays for their care costs in full. The current system
does not differentiate between care costs, accommodation charges and everyday
costs of living. Care homes charge their residents a fee each month and their
bills are not broken down into these different elements.
The care cap appears to mean that no-one will have to pay
more than £86,000 towards their ‘personal care costs.’ Therefore, the accommodation related costs of
care such as food, energy costs and entertainment do not count towards the cap
and it is expected that residents or their families will still have to pay for
these costs, which could run into thousands of pounds.
What is the future for the Cap?
Even before Mr Sunak took office, Local Authorities were urging
the Government to delay their reforms, partly due to the costs involved which
Local Councils say could make services worse.
It has been reported in the press that the Government is
considering a one -year delay to the changes, as part of plans to bolster
public finances. We are told that plans to fill the hole in public finances will
be set out in the autumn statement this month.
Experts in the field have been calling for more detailed
guidance on how the care cap will affect those who have to pay for their care. Given
the uncertainty that now exists with the public finances, it seems unlikely we
will receive these details any time soon. Indeed, it seems likely that the introduction
of the care cap is going to be pushed back to 2024.
If you need advice about healthcare fees, please get in
touch with our Solicitor, Charlotte Cole, who is an experienced and specialist Solicitor
in this area (including care home appeals). Please telephone 01823 446 200 or
email firstname.lastname@example.org .