Bettercaring discovers government’s personal budget scheme for social care is leading to confusion

Bettercaring discovers government’s personal budget scheme for social care is leading to confusion

Oxford, UK – Research carried out by Bettercaring, the UK’s leading care home search engine, has uncovered uncertainty and scepticism regarding the government’s new personal care budget scheme.

The personal care budgets initiative will be rolled out nationally in April, following trials in 13 pilot sites throughout the UK. Personal Care Budgets aim to give people in need of social care greater control over their care, delivering money on a monthly basis, providing people with more freedom to spend on whatever services they require.

Following a number of interviews with participants across the pilot areas, Bettercaring found that across the board there were concerns that the system will do more harm than good. Feedback gathered suggested that the applications for personal budgets are too extensive and require individuals to take on a high level of responsibility in order to employ carers and get access to the care they require,

Valerie Tugwell, who took part in the Essex pilot scheme, claimed she was left facing bureaucratic hurdles as she tried to arrange for meals on wheels and a carer to help her dress in the morning and to prepare an evening meal.

”You have to be very, very careful what you say and how you say it, otherwise the plan will be turned down,” says Valerie.

“You need to be a solicitor and a financial adviser all in one to fill this in. It involves a lot for the average man on the street.”

This also places the burden of responsibility on the person needing care – and not on the local authorities or agencies who provide it.

Sue Welsh, 34, a carer, is more than £5,000 in debt since leaving her job to care for her sick mother. She said:

“The personal care budgets will only help partially, as people like me will use the money to pay off credit cards that have previously been used to pay for care. The money won’t get spent on care homes or care workers.”

Dan Parton, senior journalist at Bettercaring, said; “It is understandable that older people are concerned about the employment law implications of personal care budgets and the government should clarify this and ensure that adequate support is in place for people using the scheme.”