National Care Service white paper: mixed reaction from charities


Disability charities have welcomed the principles laid out in the government’s new care and support white paper, but have criticised the lack of detail in key areas.

The disability network RADAR said it had long campaigned for care to be free at the point of use and available according to need and praised other elements of the white paper such as its emphasis on personalisation and on choice and control.

It also praised the government for listening to calls to introduce “portability”, which would allow disabled people to move to another area without having their needs reassessed.

But it warned that “being able to take your assessment with you when you move house is not the same as a guarantee that the support you need and currently enjoy will be duplicated when you get there”.

And it called on the media and politicians to pay equal attention to the needs and rights of younger and middle-aged adults with social care and support needs, rather than focusing on older people.

Liz Sayce, chief executive of RADAR, said the white paper was “a major step forward in new ideas to solve the social care crisis”.

But she added: “The crisis is, however, with us already, and we are concerned that the proposed process for designing the National Care Service, and for providing the vital details of funding and staffing, will prove too slow for those whose care needs are already pressing.”

She said political parties must make the issue “one of their highest priorities, as we are in dire need of a solution to the problem as soon as possible”.

The Care and Support Alliance of disability, service-user, older people’s and carers’ charities broadly welcomed the white paper and the “positive momentum” it had created.

It praised the government’s “bold vision” to end the postcode lottery in care, and said it was “relieved” that it had ruled out using disability benefits in care budgets.

But it called for more detail on how the reforms would be paid for, and said it was “critical that we have consensus from all parties that there must be radical action to address our crisis in care”.

And Ruth Scott, director of policy and campaigns at Scope, said the government had “failed to grasp the nettle with regard to the current social care crisis facing working-age disabled people” and had remained “worryingly silent” on the “crucial” question of who would be eligible for support.

1 April 2010

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