A few years ago the Government introduced a new policy for funding care at home called “Personalisation”. At the time it was heralded as a new approach to providing social care which would give people greater freedom and choice over how their care was delivered. The younger disability groups had long campaigned for its introduction.
I was never persuaded that many older people would be able to manage these new arrangements, which give them freedom to spend money at their own discretion, but also the responsibility of employing staff.
A recently reported case illustrates the problem:-
A 77-year-old gentleman who had looked after his wife for 25 years, received assistance from the Local Authority. When “Personalisation” came along, the council stopped paying the carer and he was given the money to employ her directly. Sadly, when his wife died and he no longer needed so much help from the carer, he reduced her hours — then :-
- She sued him for redundancy pay and unfair dismissal and was awarded £3,500 compensation
- There is no doubt the carer was entitled to this award under the law but it is a very sad way to end a working relationship, especially at a time of bereavement
- The council said “nothing to do with us, we are not the employer”, and they are right. But it is not exactly a caring approach to older people.
- Meanwhile, the Government that introduced the policy in the first place has long since moved into opposition and they and their successors feel they have no “duty to care” and sure enough