Countdown to Care Reforms Begins

Somerset County Council is well prepared for the Care Act reforms and urging people to find out how changes to care and support will benefit them from 1st April 2015.

The new care reforms, which are the most significant for over 60 years, will affect people who receive care and support in Somerset and unpaid carers.

The key changes from April are:

  • Carers rights – carers will be entitled to have an assessment of their needs and may be able to get more help to support them in their caring role or to have a life outside of caring.
  • People will have more choice and control over their care and support – The Council is making it easier for people to access information and advice on local care and support services by launching a new website called ‘Somerset Choices’ in spring 2015. It is also making sure everyone they support has a ‘personal budget’ so they can decide what care and support services they want, putting them in control of their care. And the Council is encouraging local care providers to plan services that meet the needs of local people in creative and non-traditional ways to create more choice in the marketplace.
  • A new national eligibility threshold – providing peace of mind that wherever people live in the country, or plan to move to, if their needs meet the threshold they will be eligible for support. This national approach won’t significantly impact on people in Somerset.
  • Deferred payment agreements available across the country – Somerset already offers a deferred payments scheme which means that people don’t have to sell their home in their lifetime to fund their care costs.

Cabinet Member for Adults Services at Somerset County Council, Cllr William Wallace, said: “If you receive care and support, or you support someone as a carer, you could benefit from the Care Act reforms.

“We are developing a new website called ‘Somerset Choices’ that will give people access to useful information and advice on local services so they can have more choice and control over their care; and we are working with partners, such as Compass Carers, to provide more support to carers.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Care and support is something that nearly everyone in this country will experience at some point in their lives. These changes – the most significant in over 60 years – will make the system fairer by putting the needs, wishes and goals of people, and their carers, at the heart of every care decision.”

Cllr Wallace continued: “I encourage people to find out more about the changes by visiting our website www.somerset.gov.uk/careact. On the website there is a useful ‘Question and Answer’ document that will help answer most of your questions or you can call 0845 345 9133 or if you already receive care and support from Somerset County Council you can speak to your Social Worker.”