Care Costs To Double in Wandsworth

Self-funders being told to make arrangements directly with providers

Care Costs To Double in Wandsworth
Picture: AgeUK

Residents who can afford to pay for their own care will see their weekly fees double to £50 a week in Wandsworth.

It is part of an effort to encourage self-funders to make arrangements directly with care providers, rather than through the council.

Officers argued this would allow the council’s resources to be focused on those in most need of support, and that a reduction in the number of self-funders would reduce waiting times for assessments.

Currently 11 self-funders pay the council £25 a week to cover the costs of making care arrangements, which include commissioning, contract monitoring, and payments.

From April 1 they will have to pay £50 per week, totalling £2,600 a year.

However, Labour councillors attempted to move forward an amendment for a smaller increase of £5 per week, increasing annually until it reached the £50 fee set by the council for new users to the service.

Labour Councillor Annamarie Critchard said the small number of residents it affected would have budgeted for a £25 weekly fee, and should not face an unreasonably large increase in the cost of their care.

She added these residents wouldn’t receive care “unless they were vulnerable in a particular way,” and that the borough should be “sympathetic” to these groups.

However chair Cllr Ian Lewer said he believed the money “could be better spent on those not able to be self-funders.”

The amdendment was defeated 4-4, with the chair’s casting vote.

The Labour group then “bedgrudgingly” accepted the recommendations as they felt it would be too complicated to insert further stipulations.

The council will continue to offer information and advice to support self-funding residents find local care services and organisations who could assist them.

Residents who need further help to understand their care needs can also request a full needs assessment before making their own arrangements.

The revised fees do not apply to the 139 self-funders who requested support from the council prior to the original price hike in April 2019.

These residents will continue to pay a lower charge of £130 per year, proposed to increase to £135 per annum to protect them from the large increase.

Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter

February 7, 2020

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