Health minister to clarify home care charging

25 May 00
The Department of Health will for the first time draw up statutory guidance for council social services departments on charging for home care services, health minister John Hutton revealed this week.

26 May 2000

An outline of the proposals will be included in the long-awaited white paper on long-term care, which is due to be published this summer.

The move to codify the tariffs for services such as help with shopping, cleaning and bathing is a direct response to the Audit Commission report Charging with care, which uncovered 'unacceptable variations' in councils' charging policies.

In the report, which was published two weeks ago, the commission found that those with similar means were charged from nothing to £100 a week, depending on where they lived.

Hutton said the commission's report made it clear that charges for non-residential care needed to be reformed to ensure that they were more consistent and fair. The current system was unacceptable. 'Action must be taken to end this unsatisfactory state of affairs,' he said. 'We will now work with local government and service users to draft new guidance for local councils.

'Home care is vitally important to the lives of very many people. Charging policies need to be consistent with that overriding goal.'

The minister is due to meet local government and service user representatives on June 14 to discuss the guidance.


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