SOCIAL SERVICES: Rationing care is a false economy

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The Independent Online
Home care for vulnerable elderly and disabled people has become a "Cinderella service" because of rationing in community care, says a report from the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (Nacab). The paper comes less than a week after the Law Lords ruled that local authorities could withdraw services because of lack of resources.

But while two hours' cleaning and shopping costs pounds 24 a week, Nacab argues this can be extremely cost-effective if it prevents the need for residential care costing an estimated pounds 244 a week. Based on evidence from 260 bureaux, Nacab says there are waits of up to two years for items such as bath rails and stairlifts. Basic services like shopping, bathing and cleaning are being withdrawn.

One 86-year-old woman was unable to have a bath for two years. she had been assessed as needing a walk-in shower but there was no money available and she could not use the bath without adaptations.

Rationing Community Care, Social Policy Section, Nacab, 115-123 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9LZ.

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