Monday, 11 July 2011

Lib Dems fear county Tories may not heed government report

Leading Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have welcomed the Dilnot Commission’s report on long term care but fear that it may bring little improvement for the county’s elderly and vulnerable.

The report recommends a cap on the amount people will have to spend on care and comes in the same week that the Tory-run Cambridgeshire County Council has had to explain mistakes that have left some families thousands of pounds out of pocket to pay for care.

In one case, a mistake with the council’s billing system left a vulnerable adult without any care after the provider withdrew the package it was providing.

Fiona Whelan, Cambridgeshire’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “This report is extremely welcome but I am concerned that it will have little impact on the lives of those in Cambridgeshire who are struggling to get the right care against a backdrop of brutal spending cuts by the Tory administration.

“The Government announced an extra £2 billion to provide for additional care for our elderly last year but in Cambridgeshire we've seen no noticeable additional spending.

“Increases in inflation and the continuing rise in the number of elderly needing care has instead led to reduced care packages being offered to people since October last year. And an important report by councillors into provision of care for people with dementia has been stalled by the Conservative administration for another two months. We have to ask if the new administration of Cllr Nick Clarke is really serious about providing care or just paying lip service to the idea.

“"Everyone recognises that council finances are tight” added Cllr Whelan, “but that's no excuse for the continuing problems our residents have in getting and keeping themselves safe at a vulnerable time in their lives. The Tory administration can and should do better."

Geoff Heathcock, Shadow Cabinet Member for Health added: "The whole needs of an individual through both health and social care has been previously passed around like a parcel. The government now has a golden chance to give millions peace of mind as they get older."