At the end of last year Hertfordshire County Council had a consultation about proposals to increase charges for some community based adult care services. We have set up a petition on behalf of carers calling for the Council to reject the proposals.
You can sign the petition via this link - petition so far just over 1,000 people have signed it, which means there should be an opportunity for someone to speak at the Council’s Full Council meeting on 20th February.
The proposals include:
- Charging for a second care worker when more than one care worker is needed to provide a service (currently, there is only a charge for one care worker);
- Increasing the flexi-care charges for people living in sheltered or assisted living accommodation;
- Charging £3.25 a week to people who receive a telecare service from Serco; and
- Increasing the cost of transport to Day Care Services to £2 per journey, up from £1. The Council subsidides this service as it costs £6.89 a journey
The Council has identified these increases to help it raise up to £4 million as it is facing financial pressures due to a reduce in Government funding and an increasing ageing population and more people requiring care. Although, the Council’s Adult Care Services will still have to find another £11m of savings in 2018/19.
A consultation was carried out at the end of 2017 online, over the phone and in writing and we held a workshop for carers to find out more about the proposals and ask questions.
Out of the 9,632 people in receipt of community based adult care services 22% (2,187) responded.
The Adult Care and Cabinet Panel met on January 10th 2018 to consider the consultation responses and proposals again. Most of the proposals were approved as suggested, but an amendment was made to one item.
Instead of considering Higher Rate Attendance Allowance and Higher Rate Disability Living Allowance when deciding how much someone should contribute to their care the Council will only take this into account for people receiving paid overnight support provided by the Council.
Roma Mills, our Carers Policy and Engagement Manager, said: "Many carers, particularly parents, are already subsidising the costs of meeting a relative's support and social care needs. This is not sustainable. Increasing charges will inevitably put more pressure on peoples' budgets and could mean that they have to reduce the services received or reconsider living independently. For some, it could mean increased pressure on statutory services, such as the NHS. We hope that the Council considers the carers' concerns and not increase charging levels."
The main points in the petition as to why the Council should reject plans to increase charges for these care services are that they would negatively affect:
- The quality of lives for people with severe disabilities who are being supported to live in their own homes;
- The health and wellbeing of their family carers; and
- The sustainability of their care and ability to stay at home, which could result in higher costs across the health and social care system.
Cllr Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Executive Member for Adult Care and Health at Hertfordshire County Council, in a statement said: “The Adult Care Services department at Hertfordshire County Council has a strong history of delivering care and support services to the most vulnerable in our communities. We have managed this without asking people who use care and support services to pay any more for over seven years. Sadly we now find ourselves in a situation where we no longer have a choice but to change that policy from April 2018.
She continued: “There is no doubt that this will impact some residents adversely, and we have done everything we can to understand this impact. For those people using a service who have real difficulty with regards to the new charges, we will be offering a new financial assessment and we will help them to ensure they are getting every means of financial support available to them, as well as signposting to other services to ensure affordability."
If you are a carer and concerned about anything related to this issue or your caring role you can get in touch with our Carer Support Advisors for information or advice by calling 01992 58 69 69 or email