Englands free nursing care system slammed

4 Oct 01
The new arrangements were introduced on October 1, categorising elderly patients requiring long-term nursing care into three funding categories £35, £70 and £110 per week following an assessment of their needs.

05 October 2001

But charities including Help the Aged and Age Concern said the funding bands would not fully cover the nursing care needs of many older people.

And they claimed the decision to split nursing from personal care, such as washing and feeding, discriminated against those with long-term illnesses.

Tessa Harding, Help the Aged's head of policy, contrasted the English position with that in other parts of the UK. The Welsh Assembly proposed to give everyone requiring long-term care £90 a week for nursing care, while in Scotland residents in nursing homes will get up to £90 a week for personal care and £65 per week for nursing care. All personal care for people living at home will be free.

'Most older people living in nursing homes won't benefit at all from the new arrangements, which are complicated and unworkable,' said Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern England. 'The new system also places an extra burden on nurses and nursing managers, whose first priority should be caring for older people.'

However, the Department of Health claimed only 10% of elderly patients would fall into the £35 band, with the remainder falling equally into the two higher bands.

Some £100m had been distributed to health authorities in England to fund nursing care for the remainder of the financial year, it said.


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