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"Biggest reform of care" in years just weeks away

Service users, carers and their families are set to benefit from a host of reforms which are being introduced in less than a month's time.

The Government says the changes, being brought in through the Care Act, will help make social care and support services more consistent across the country.

The Care Act, which comes into force on 1 April, will set out new rights for people needing care and support and make it clear what kind of care they can expect to receive.

In particular, it seeks to promote people's wellbeing and the use of preventative services, information and advice and support in the community to help them live independently for as long as possible.

It will introduce a new single national eligibility threshold and measures to ensure continuity of care for people who move from one area to another.

It will also give carers new rights so that they receive help before they reach crisis point while councils and partner organisations will be given responsibilities to promote wellbeing and preventative services and provide information and advice to prospective care users.

From April 2016, it will also introduce a lifetime care spending cap of no more than £72,000 to protect service users from excessive care costs.

Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "Many of us will need care and support at some point in our lives, and most of us will pay at least something towards the cost of our care.

"The changes being introduced through the Care Act are designed to help people plan for the future, give them more control over the help they receive and also limit the amount they have to pay towards care costs.

"We've already done a lot of work in Wolverhampton to meet the requirements of the Care Act, particularly around the personalisation of services.

"Our processes are already very much geared up to providing information and advice, giving people greater control over the care they receive and enabling them to access preventative services, so that wherever possible they are able to remain independent for longer, often in their own home.

"The Care Act, which has been described as the biggest reform of care in 60 years, will reinforce this work and give service users, carers and their families greater rights."

A webpage giving information about the Care Act, and how it is likely to affect people, is available at The Care Act 2014. Alternatively, people can email careact@wolverhampton.gov.uk or call 01902 551155 to find out more.

Wolverhampton City Council is working closely with partners in health, housing and the community sector to ensure that it is ready to meet its duties under the Care Act.

  • released: Wednesday 4 March, 2015