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A selection of news and comment on the week's top disability news stories

Emma Emma | 16:13 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

The cost of care

A report from Andrew Dilnot's Commission on Long Term Care was released on Monday to mixed reaction.

In the Guardian's Jo Public blog, Melanie Henwood praises the report for taking into consideration the probability that younger disabled people might be less likely to have a financial nest egg.

"The commission's approach is unequivocal - by and large people aged under 40 will get all their care for free. This recognises that most people who have a lifelong or acquired disability will have had few opportunities to build up wealth because they are less likely to be in employment or to have incomes that allow them to plan for future needs. People who do have assets (such as through inheritance) will still benefit from the cap on total personal contributions and will often be better off than is presently the case."

But the Telegraph's Patrick Nolan writes: "By proposing a model built around the need for people to take responsibility for their own costs of care, the report makes an important contribution to the debate. Yet the proposals it contains are too expensive and will require revision to be seriously considered."

And here's his maths:

"... the cost of health and care (before today's proposals) is projected to increase by £40 billion (in today's money) by 2041 and the cost of pensions is projected to increase by £32 billion. Adding the Commission's proposals onto this (projected to account for an additional £3.6 billion by 2025) will mean a total increase of cost around £75 billion a year."

Back with the Guardian. A Government spokesperson comments "We genuinely like this report, which has clever and innovative ideas... But it does come with a price tag."

The spokesperson went on to acknowledge that the report has suggested a range of options and trade-offs that now need to be debated with the stakeholders.

No overnight care for ex ballerina

68 year old Elaine McDonald has been fighting to have a carer to help her use a commode during the night but she failed to secure it in an appeal to the Supreme Court. Kensington and Chelsea council has offered incontinence pads to the former ballet star instead, making a reported saving of 22 thousand pounds a year.

Miss McDonald OBE has mobility and bladder difficulties caused by a stroke she suffered 12 years ago. She needs the bathroom up to three times during the night but, crucial to this case, she is not incontinent.

The Daily Mail carries Lady Hale's response. From the panel of five judges, she was the only one who voted sympathetically towards Miss McDonald.

She said: "I am troubled by the implications of the (majority) view. A person in her situation needs this help during the day as well as during the night.

"Logically, the decision of the majority in this case would entitle a local authority to withdraw this help even though the client might be left lying in her faeces until the carers came in the morning."

John Wadham, group director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the is reported by BBC as saying this ruling will mean that: "Local authorities will now have greater discretion in deciding how to meet a person's home care needs and will find it easier to justify withdrawing care.

"The court has missed a significant opportunity to interpret the law to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society."

Elsewhere in the news:

Disability Alliance legal move over welfare changes
Unsafe havens: care homes are branded fire hazards.
Disability travel concerns raised by the Trailblazers campaigners
The Wing's Speech: How Leroy Cudjoe , one of the UK's top rugby league players, came to terms with his stammerAndrea Bocelli: 'no connection' between my blindness and singing.

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