In this post, Jenny Titcombe, Senior Mental Health Social Worker, explains about the new Care Act and what it means for people accessing mental health services, carers and for people working in mental health………
What do people need to know about the new Care Act ?
• The government says the new Care Act (2014) is the biggest social care reform in the UK for over half a century. The Care Act aims to simplify all other laws and tries to make it clear exactly what people who need social care advice/ support can expect from their council.
• The wellbeing of people is at the centre of the new Care Act. Councils now have a duty to think about the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of people who need care. Councils also have a new duty to provide preventative services to keep people healthy in the first place. Council’s must also provide better information to help people access good care.
• For the first time the care system will be built around each individual person and what care they each need and want. Personal Budget’s are part of the new law which give people the power to spend allocated money on care that meets their needs and suits them best.
• The Care Act also introduces a cap on care costs for which an individual is liable (April, 2016)
More information is available here
What does The Care Act mean for carers?
• The Care Act also introduces new rights for carers. Now anyone who provides unpaid care or support to an adult family member or friend can arrange to have a carer’s assessment, irrespective of whether the person they care for has eligible needs. Previously only carers providing regular and substantial care were entitled to a carer’s assessment.
• For the first time, if a Carer has eligible needs of their own, they will have the right to support from the council.
More information is available at Carers UK here, here is a link to Carers Leeds and this link is to York Carers Forum.
What does this mean for people working in mental health?
• Social workers in Community Mental Health Teams have recently undergone training in The Care Act and have embraced changes to practice, process and paperwork.
• As a result of The Care Act, working age adults with mental health problems and professional referrers should find it easier to access funded support as assessments are based on an individual’s needs (rather than available services) and more flexible responses to meeting eligible needs should be available.
• The Care Act now makes integration, cooperation and partnership a legal requirement on local authorities and on all agencies involved in public care the NHS including independent or private sector organisations and housing. Those working in Mental Health Services should expect further moves towards integrated services over the coming years.
• The Care Act makes offering Personal Budgets to people with eligible social care need law. Although under separate legislation – there is likely to be a rise in personal health budgets and mixed (health and social care) budgets over coming years. Recently introduced regulations now makes it law that those eligible for NHS Continuing Health Care have a right to a Personal Health Budget.
Watch this space …
Senior Mental Health Social Worker