COUNCIL bosses have been urged to suspend plans to introduce care charges for vulnerable and elderly residents until the impact of a new law is known.
Coun Lennox Cumberbatch, health champion for Alcester Town Council, said he was concerned Warwickshire County Council was planning to push ahead with their plan on January 1, 2015 based on current guidance and regulations which the Care Act would dramatically change when it came into effect in April next year.
He said it could leave some of the town’s most vulnerable residents and their carers being assessed twice within the space of just a few months to see if they qualify for free care causing additional stress, while it wasn’t clear where the capacity was coming from to carry out the assessments.
“There are something like 40 different pieces of legislation and guidelines about to be changed.” he said.
“I would assume the county council in its wisdom would delay the process pending the new guidelines and regulations so we don’t have people going through double assessments.”
The county council, which needs to make £92million of savings, is undertaking a ten week consultation on plans to charge for some services which are currently either subsidised or free of charge. Fees will be phased in at half cost from January and then implemented in full three months later.
Under the proposals the Take a Break service, which offers respite to carers, will cost £7.77 an hour from January 1 and £15.54 an hour from April. Sleeping Night Support, for those who require ongoing support through the night, will cost £2.23 and then £4.46 per hour, while Waking Night Support, where a carer is awake and alert throughout the night, will initially be charged at £6.95 an hour and then £13.91 an hour.
For those requiring 24 hour live in support they will have to pay £2.58 an hour and £5.17 an hour from next April.
Respite residential care will rise from £51.80 a day to a charge of £100 a day initially from January and then at full cost without the cap from April 2015. Charges for learning disability day services will in future be paid for on an hourly basis reflecting the cost of the service rather than a flat rate of £46.74 a day.
Council chiefs stress only those assessed as having the ability to pay the charges will have to do so.
A spokesman for the county council said they were planning for the implementation of the Care Act and were mindful of it when drawing up the proposals.
“We will consider any changes once we have seen those responses.”
The consultation will end on September 29 with a final decision in November. Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ask to view the consultation.