Letter: Concern over Care in the Community

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The Independent Online
Sir: The tragic circumstances of the Clunis case ('A suitable case for an inquiry', 19 July) demonstrate the perils of a community care policy underpinned by an Act of Parliament (the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990) so vaguely and sloppily drafted as to leave it open to social services departments to seek to refuse to assess persons, under section 47, on the flimsiest grounds.

Unlawful failure to assess for community care services can, of course, be challenged in our courts by judicial review. But judicial review now takes between 12 and 24 months to be heard in all but the most exceptional cases. None of this can give any cause for comfort to those professionals who are seriously disturbed by the way in which the community care regime is actually being operated through lack of proper funding.

Yours faithfully,

RICHARD GORDON

London, WC2

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