The announcement of a £670m-a-year package, which will allow hundreds of thousands of elderly homeowners to receive treatment and care in their own homes instead of having to be moved into residential care, has been hailed as a "significant moment" by Health Secretary Andy Burnham.
Mr Burnham (pictured) said the Personal Care at Home Bill would "end the lottery in home care", as well as paving the way for the fundamental reforms necessary to meet the government's goal of creating a National Care Service.
Opening Commons second reading debate on the Bill, Mr Burnham said: "These are people who, as their condition has deteriorated, will already in many cases have paid significant sums out of their own pockets towards the cost of their care."
However, the Liberal Democrats have questioned the funding of the bill, claiming that local councils will inevitably be required to contribute towards services that will only help a fraction of the 400,000 people Mr Burnham said would benefit from the free support on offer.
The Bill, which received an unopposed second reading, also supports people who may have suffered a fall or other health setback and are at risk of needing long-term care.
Copyright © Press Association 2009
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"Complete and utter rubbish. My mother, who is 90, has been assessed by the mental health department and has been diagnosed with dementia, she does not go out any more due to her mobility being fragile. They recommend that she is bathed twice weekly, due to her being incapable of getting in the bath, has a carer to come in to make sure she has taken her medication and apply a memory patch to her arm every day. That was at 10am Monday 14 December. At 2.30pm on the same day she is accessed by the Social Services. They do not bathe the elderly any more, only if there is a medical need, ie, a skin condition. She is not entitled to a carer coming in to make sure that she takes her medication every day – again, she does not have a medical need, ie, she is able to get around her flat with the aid of a walking stick. What I completely fail to understand is the medical need only refers to bodily functions but surely dementia is a medical need. Also, even if my mother were able to get this help, which she cannot, the memory patch could not be put in place on her arm daily as it is considered to be administering medicine! When I questioned the social services woman about what would happen to my mother should I not be able to help, she slightly shrugged her shoulders and slightly shook her head. In other words, she did not know what to say. She would probably die, my words not hers. My mother has never claimed a penny from the state nor did my father when he was alive and yet now when she needs it where is the state to help. NOWHERE. Throw benefit at single parents, assist asylum seekers, give child trust fund money to those who are not even born in this country and yet our elderly can rot as far as they are concerned. I will be writing to the Secretary for Health. He will then pass my letter on to someone in the social services, presumably of a higher position than the woman who visited my mother. They can then pass it down the line and I will still get the same answers. This government lie. They know that they do not have the funds to give but unfortunately the money they do have is put to the wrong use" – Vivienne Genchi, Essex