Jeremy Corbyn Promises Free Personal Care, we have heard it all before!

25 September 2019

Jeremy Corbyn Promises Free Personal Care

Once again free personal care in England is being offered by a political party – we have heard it all before!

Free personal care for people over the age of 65 has been proposed so many times but to date not materializing.

In fact, if we look back a decade or so, free personal care support was on offer to disabled people through the Independent Living Fund The withdrawal of this meant that many people were denied free, truly assessed, care support and many already in receipt had their care support reduced.
Politicians are talking about personal care to ‘help people get up in the morning, help with going to the toilet, help to get back into bed at night’ as though money to pay for such tasks will solve the problem of the hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people who are not receiving services.

For a few, this may well be the case, but the problem is deeper than that.
First, it is about everyone having an appropriate assessment of their care needs on a personal, domestic and social care basis, not a glib statement as above. It is about recognising that social care covers more than a care worker popping in to get you washed, dressed and leaving you cold soup for lunch (A true example I have first-hand knowledge of) it is about giving support to enable people to have a quality of life enabled by the care support they receive.
The current assessment methods used by social workers is not uniform. Currently, many are biased as a result of the financial status their Council is in. People are being re-assessed as needing fewer care hours without an in-depth re-assessment.
Pledging to introduce free personal care in England to people over the age of 65 who need it, are grand-sounding words but without a robust overhaul of the present system of assessing care needs, it will mean very little and should it ever be funded, the cost will be underestimated.