CARERS NEED RESPITE CARE MORE THAN CHOICE

Posted in : - Blog -, UK Social Care Policy on by : petersen Comments: 0

The “choice”  agenda is here to stay  for the foreseeable future. It  is firmly  established  amongst most sections of opinion – in the Conservative Government,  and in the main political parties, with the exception of some on the left of the Labour party.

 In 2005, Tony Blair claimed that consumer choice is both good in itself and a means of chivvying under-performing services to do better.  Direct Payments brought in by Labour. extended by the Coalition Government and still continuing,  benefit the better off,  more articulate and persuasive people who are cared for together with their carers: they are better able  to “play the assessment game” to their own advantage. Poorer, less articulate people  are less  assertive in securing assessments of their needs and Direct Payments.   To the extent that they do get them,  disadvantaged and vulnerable people are more likely to accept  what they are offered  passively, and accordingly, to be assessed  generally as needing smaller Direct Payments relative to their needs. There is far less reason to suspect bias in favour of the better off in relation to  Local Authority provided free respite services.

In 2005,  a  National Consumer Council Report made the absurd statement “In recommending the extension of the principle of choice, we are acutely aware that regulation will often be necessary to ensure that disadvantaged consumers have access to services, can question and challenge professionals and seek redress when things go wrong.”  An important  concern is that relatively prosperous more articulate and persuasive people are far more willing and able to “question and challenge professionals and seek redress when things go wrong”.

NO CONCEIVABLE REGULATIONS COULD STOP  DIRECT PAYMENTS ACTING  AGAINST THE INTERESTS OF POOR, RELATIVELY INARTICULATE CARERS.

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