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Shake-up sparks care cost worries
Proposed changes in the level of contribution people pay towards the home and day care services they receive are expected to affect around 20 per cent of the 3,500 adults that use the Bradford Council service.
It follows a review of the means-tested charges which have not altered since 2006. A three-month period of consultation began last year, with a survey sent out to all service users. In addition there were a number of public meetings which allow both users and carers to find out how they would be affected by the proposals.
The changes include: ending the subsidy of services such as home care, day care and the sitting service, which in some instances is a third of the actual cost.
These costs are used to assess contributions and have always been set below the real cost of providing the service, abolishing the maximum charge for non-residential services of £199 per week so those who can afford to pay the full cost of the services they use, do so.
This means setting a standard annual charge based on the value of services people would receive over the year instead of the current system based on weekly charges.
This would allow for one annual bill to be sent and is meant to offer people a more flexible way of paying.
Adult services bosses are currently recommending that a proposal to charge a flat £3 fee for all return transport journeys be postponed until a wider review of the Council’s transport policy can be undertaken.
The changes would affect 700 people who currently use the system, in varying degrees. A total of 667 service users would be expected to pay an average of an extra £16.46 a week if the real cost of services is taken into account. In addition to this, if the £199 a week limit on charges is scrapped then 47 people would be expected to pay more, ranging from 45p a week to £394.85 per week.
Figures show that eight of these would need to pay £140 more a week, and three people more than £300 a week more. It is however expected that these people will also have their ability to pay reassessed.
The Council’s executive is to consider making these changes at its meeting on Friday, which if approved, will come into force from the beginning of August.
It is expected to bring in an extra £785,00 over the rest of this financial year, and £1.2 million in a full year.
No changes will be made to way the charges are means-tested, meaning no individual is charged more than they can reasonably afford to pay.
Councillor Amir Hussain, the Council’s executive member for adult services, said: “We need to ensure that our charging policies are fair and based on people’s needs and ability to pay. We will consider very carefully all the options and the views expressed in the consultation before coming to any conclusions.
“We face a big challenge in ensuring that our high quality and affordable social care services are maintained given the challenges on public sector funding and the increase in demand in future years.”