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Minister wants to provide help to people shut out of care support

Minister wants to provide help to people shut out of care support
9th January 2014

Thousands of frail older people could receive some financial support from the state even if they have previously been deemed not "sick enough" for care.

The proposal has been put forward by care minister Norman Lamb because he feels current social care provisions do not far enough and run the risk of leaving many vulnerable people without the support they require.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Lamb said that unless changes are made, people could be told to "go away and get sicker" until they reach a level of invalidity deemed worthy of help.

He also revealed that he has ordered Department of Health officials to devise a "more sophisticated" approach to the issue.

Mr Lamb feels that there is currently a "postcode lottery" in terms of how people can access care provisions and the standards available to them.

His bill will attempt to make the tests to assess a person's health more standardised.

He is also calling on local authorities to spend more on support services for those with long-term conditions as he feels this will reduce the burden on the NHS and reduce the number of people going into residential care when their condition has deteriorated.

"This is not something … that you can do overnight, but I am keen to find other ways of encouraging the idea of providing some support earlier on, I don’t ultimately want a system which says you are not sick enough go away and get sicker and then we might help you," Mr Lamb explained.

Caroline Abrahams, director of the charity Age UK, said a shift to focusing on how health problems can be prevented before they reach crisis point "makes good sense for everyone".

She feels that it will not only help people to enjoy a better standard of living, it will also save the economy money.

However, she added that government cuts to frontline services is making the current issue worse, with many elderly and disabled people finding themselves "struggling alone" and in a "desperate situation".

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