Service users

The changes to the care and support system will mean the following things for people using services:

You will get the help you need to stay independent for as long as possible

The changes to the system mean that care and support will focus on people’s wellbeing and independence, instead of waiting for people to reach a crisis point.

The new legal framework, set out in the draft Care and Support Bill, will require local authorities to provide help earlier to try to prevent, delay or reduce people’s needs for care and support.

To help people stay active and independent in their community, we will encourage the development of time sharing schemes that help people share their time, talents and skills with others locally. This will also aim to help people who use care, and their carers, feel less isolated.

£200 million will be invested over 5 years to encourage the development of a range of specialised housing options for older and disabled people. We will also be working to make sure that more people get support at the right time to get modifications made to their home if they choose to stay at home. This will support people to live independently for as long as possible.

You will understand how care and support works, what you are entitled to, and the options available to help you stay independent for as long as possible

The new legal framework, set out in the draft Bill, will make the processes people go through much clearer. The draft Bill has been designed to follow the person’s journey through the care and support system and set out what must happen at different points. This will help people understand how care and support is provided and what they are entitled to.

We will make sure people have much better, clearer information to help them make choices about their care. From 2013 there will be 1 website, nhs.uk, bringing together information on the NHS, social care and public health in 1 place for the first time.

The draft Bill will also require local authorities to provide an information and advice service on care and support, focusing on helping people to understand how the system works, what services are available locally, and how to access the services they need now and in the future. 

In the past, some people have found it hard to work out what they are entitled to and there have been different rules for different services. Instead there will be a single route people will go through to work out what care and support they are entitled to. 

From April 2015 we will introduce a national minimum eligibility threshold for care and support in England. The ‘eligibility threshold’ is the minimum level of need that someone must have to be entitled to care and support from their local authority. At the moment different local authorities have different thresholds. But in the new system the minimum eligibility threshold will be the same across England. This will make the system more consistent and fair. We will also make it easier for people to move between local authorities, by removing the worry that they may lose the care they need.

You will feel happier about the quality of your care and support, and confident that it will respond to your personal needs and goals

To improve the quality of care and help people choose between different providers, every registered social care provider now has a ‘quality profile’ on nhs.uk. This provides a place where you can leave feedback on your experiences of a provider and see how different providers compare.

We will work with commissioners, care providers, people who use services and carers to stop local authorities from commissioning care visits that are too short.

We will take steps to ensure that people using care and support don’t have their care interrupted if their care provider goes out of business.

You will be treated well and with respect

We will place dignity and respect at the heart of new national minimum training standards and a code of conduct for those working in care. To drive up quality and bring new people into the profession, we will increase the number of apprenticeships, expand the current Care Ambassador Scheme and develop a new online tool to support recruitment. This will help to make sure that care workers with the appropriate skills are available.

You will feel in control and that the different services you need are shaped around you

The care and support system will be built around the needs and wishes of people who need care and their carers. The one key purpose for care and support will be to promote people’s wellbeing.

People will be able to control the way they are cared for by using a personal budget. This means people will get a set amount of money to spend on the care they need and knowing this amount will help people plan. By 2013, everyone needing state-funded care will be offered a personal budget as part of their care and support plan, preferably as a direct payment. People will have the right to request a direct payment if they want to.

We will improve the way different services work together to allow a care package to fit around a person’s needs, and not what a care provider feels is an adequate amount of care. The health system will transfer an extra £100 million and £200 million in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 on top of the £2.7 billion already agreed in the last Spending Review. This will improve joined-up working between the NHS and care and support, for example making sure that people move smoothly from hospital back into their own home or residential care.

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