Headlines: March 4th, 2009

The British Government should look to Europe to find the best way to use personal budgets to fix the ‘broken social care system’, according to the leading older people’s charity Help the Aged. It says Britain is in a good position to take the best idea from countries which have already reformed their care systems.

Anticipating the Green Paper, expected to be published this spring, the charity has today produced ‘Personalisation in Social Care: Progress in the UK and abroad’. The report examines how personal budgets are used in other countries and looks at what works and the lessons that can be learned from experiences in Europe.

Help the Aged, which is a member of the Right Care Right Deal coalition, wants radical changes to social care system to improve what it says is widely considered to be an out of date and underfunded service. It believes personal care budgets will be crucial to Government proposals for any new system. It says other European countries have undergone reforms like those anticipated here and that those reforms have often been triggered by the same problems the UK is facing.

Elizabeth Feltoe, Senior Social Care Policy Officer for Help the Aged, said, “The social care system is broken and as a result, millions of older people are failed each year.” She said dramatic reform and immediate investment of at least one to two billion pounds were needed to make the system fit for purpose. There was also a need for long term investment for a major overhaul of the system. She added, “The UK is in the perfect position to see what works and cherry pick the best options for our older people, one of which will be personal budgets. If however, politicians choose to delay the reform or refuse to make the hard decisions, British older people will be at greater risk than ever before.“