Poor LTC advice costs councils £1bn a year

Local authorities in England face a long-term care bill of almost £1bn a year because many people funding their own care do not receive appropriate financial advice, says Partnership.

Figures based on data from healthcare analyss Laing & Buisson and the House of Commons Library published last week show that more than 20,000 pensioners sold their homes to pay for residential care between April 2009 and March 2010.

But Partnership managing director of care Chris Horlick says: “The real scandal is not that 20,000 people are selling their homes to fund their care but that so many people then run out of funds because they fail to get appropriate financial advice.

“Last year, out of the 53,000 self-funders who went into care, just 7,000 had appropriate financial advice. We estimate this will cost local authorities nearly £1bn in England alone each year.”

Partnership calculated the £1bn cost estimate based on figures provided by county councils on the cost of self-funders running out of money and turning to the state for help.

Some councils reported they were losing £13m a year.

Saga director general Ros Altmann says: “The care issue is a timebomb. We need a decisive change in how care is provided and paid for. There is a complete lack of joined-up thinking between NHS and local Government-provided care, with the problem passed from one authority to another.”

FirstStop Advice figures show the cost of care home fees for personal care has risen by 20 per cent over the last five years, from £21,546 to £25,896. Nursing care fees grew by 20 per cent over the same period, from £29,851 to £35,036.