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Lansley pledges to end social care'postcode lottery'

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Health secretary Andrew Lansley pledged to end the “postcode lottery” of social care in England from 2015 by imposing a national minimum eligibility threshold.

And around £12.5 million a year will also be made available to ensure people who move house continue to receive care while they await re-assessment by their new local authority.

Both measures, to be included in the government’s Care and Support White Paper on Wednesday, will be welcomed by campaigners seeking reforms.

But the package remains under fire because ministers have failed to give any assurances over finding the £1.7 billion-a-year required to rescue the ailing care system.

Mr Lansley said the present system - where each of 152 local authorities decide their own eligibility criteria - was “confusing and unclear”.

While town halls will remain in charge of deciding who qualifies for care however, from 2015 they will not be able to turn away anyone who meets a set level of need.

Councils were also warned by officials not to further narrow the band of people given state help despite facing massive pressure on budgets as a result of funding cuts and rising demand.

Under plans to increase the so-called “portability” of assessments, councils will be legally required from 2014 to match previous care packages when someone moves to their area, officials said.

At present vulnerable people - and their carers - can be left without support for weeks or months while a fresh assessment is made.

The new arrangements will make it easier for those to be done before the move happens and service users will also have the right to a written explanation if the new assessment is different.

“No one should fear moving house or areas because they are worried that they will lose out on vital care and support,” Mr Lansley said.

“By bringing in measures to ensure continuity of care when people move, they will no longer feel trapped.”

 

 

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