A bill to provide free personal care to disabled and older people with the highest needs has become law, after government concessions were approved by peers.
Health secretary Andy Burnham last week described the personal care at home bill as the first of three stages of reforms that would lead to a national care service based on the principle of free personal care for everyone who needs it.
The government made two key concessions on the bill – delaying its implementation until April 2011, and agreeing that MPs and peers would have to approve its implementation after it became law.
Peers approved the new version of the bill today (8 April), and it later received royal assent.
The Personal Care at Home Act is now set to provide free personal care at home to an estimated 280,000 disabled and older people with the highest needs (although this figure includes about 170,000 people who already receive free personal care).
It will also provide intensive “re-ablement” support for around 130,000 people who need home care for the first time.
The second stage of Burnham’s care and support reforms, from 2014, will see those staying in residential care for longer than two years receiving free personal care.
8 April 2010