The professional association representing home care providers in the UK, the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement that the social care cap will be set at £75,000 and the means-tested threshold will rise to £123,000 this week. UKHCA have said the cap will help people to plan for their future care needs and opens the way for insurance and pension companies to offer new long term care products.

UKHCA is pleased that the State will limit the amount people are expected to pay for their care, as these costs can be high and crippling financially for some. Like many other organisations the UKHCA would like to have seen a lower cap but believes that by setting a limit the Government has accepted an important principle. However politicians of all political parties, must now explain to the public the reality that social care is not, and cannot be, entirely free.

However, UKHCA is concerned about the scant detail on how the plans will apply to care provided in people’s own homes. Bridget Warr, Chief Executive of UKHCA, who was a member of the Dilnot Commission’s external reference group said:

“The focus in yesterday’s social care announcement has concentrated on residential care and not homecare. It is unclear whether the social care cap will include more than just personal care, or will also cover services that allow older people to stay in their own homes such as shopping, help with medication and household management.”

UKHCA has also said that Government must not forget that additional funding for the current system is urgently needed. The reforms will take many years to become effective. UKHCA‘s report ‘Care is not a Commodity’ highlights the impact council spending cuts are having on social care, especially highlighted in the increased use of short care visits to older people at a lower cost, rather than quality, personalised care at home as advocated by Home Care Direct.  Cost has become the overriding consideration when local councils purchase care and Home Care Direct believe this should not be the main focus of care…the person needing care at home should be the most important thing and at the centre of every dicussion and decision, a truly personalised approach to care as provided with Home Care Direct in a cost effective way.