Social care isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Brexit, but there are real concerns within the law profession, care homes and social care providers about the growing and continuing delay with the government dealing with the looming social care crisis that will likely affect every one of us in years to come.
Immigration will probably cause a problem for attracting and retaining staff, but more worrying is the delay of the Health and Social Care Departments’ green paper on how to tackle the ever-growing elderly population who are living longer, but perhaps not in such good health. The paper was promised in spring, summer and then late autumn, but has been delayed yet again because of parliamentary time being diverted to the Brexit situation.
With the baby boomers now moving into retirement, social care departments within Local Authorities are finding their finances stretched and are now only providing necessary statutory services for the most at need. Unfortunately, assessments can be made incorrectly, causing a risk to people not being signposted to the correct advice and left in a maze of confusion.
Karon Walton, Head of Court of Protection at Hegarty Solicitors said “It is important that everyone considers that there is going to be a real problem with care funding in the future and therefore, it is important for people to consider what this is likely to mean to them or their loved ones. There is a real need to plan for the future and make sure their legal affairs are in order.”
It is likely that when the green paper is published it will shed some light on what ideas and direction the government is planning on going with a change to social care funding. Some ideas that have been suggested so far are that over 40’s will be required to pay into an opt-in a care fund, similar to a pension, whilst potentially property will be brought into assessments with options for equity release. Other ideas such as insurance policies or annuities have also been proposed.
Whatever the plan being drawn up by the government, Karon recommends that everyone should put in place legal documents such as wills and lasting powers of attorney, and to really consider what would happen if they need care. Everyone should carefully consider their circumstances and what options there may be for them.