South Holland carer starts petition to end unfair social care system which penalises dying patients after being inspired by Holbeach army veteran
Angry carers are fighting to change the social care system to ensure that no other dying patients have to undergo worries about their funding being pulled.
Fiona Blundell is calling on the Government to end the unfair system which sees fast-track funding pulled from palliative care patients because they have lived beyond their 12 week allocation.
Ms Blundell was inspired to do this after watching the final weeks of a 90-year-old army veteran marred over money concerns as he is no longer receiving state help.
She has launched a petition and is hoping that people across the area will sign it and bring about a change to this system.
Earlier this year, the Government announced that it was looking to reform the social care system but has so far not announced any detail of how it is going to do that.
Ms Blundell, who works for Lincolnshire Home Care in Spalding, said: “We should be making this time as easy as possible for families but when something like this happens it causes so much upset and anxiety. That should not be allowed.
“These people are vulnerable and to hit them with something like that when they are already going through a stressful time. It’s wrong.
“The amount of palliative care patients that have had this happen to them is ridiculous. It breaks my heart as this shouldn’t happen to anyone.
“The Government needs to look at the social care system and come up with something.”
Last month, the veteran and his wife were told by Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group that their ‘fast track funding’ of £574 a week would end after he lived beyond the 12 week allocation.
They have had to undergo means testing to fund their care. Sadly they have also been separated as the veteran has been admitted to Holbeach Hospital and hopes to be able to return home to his wife.
The petition states: “This adds extra stress and anxiety to the individual and their family, as not only are they caring for their loved one who is palliative but now they have to pay for their care as well.
“At the end of one’s life the time you spend with them should not be spent worrying about money. These individuals have paid their national insurance and taxes, some have been in the armed forces and fought for their country.
“This is the same country that now demands they pay for their own care as they are dying. This is not right and needs to be addressed immediately by the Government and Continuing Care.”
For many elderly and vulnerable people and their families, social care is a lifeline as it enables them to either live independently at home or be looked after by dedicated staff in a safe home.
Carers can provide a wealth of services by helping a client with personal care such as washing, support with meals and other vital tasks.
But it also plays an important part in the smooth running of the NHS as patients who cannot be discharged safely will have to stay in hospital for longer, which can create bed pressures.
A CCG spokesman said:”We cannot comment on individual patient cases, but if an individual or their family have concerns we encourage them to raise these directly with the Continuing Healthcare team or with Lincolnshire County Council’s Adult Social Care team.”
Glen Garrod, executive director for adult care and community wellbeing at the county council, said: "We recognise just how important it is that services which support people at the end of life are there when they need them and of good quality. It is important that people in receipt of such services and their families have certainty and consistency, particularly at such truly challenging times. NHS Continuing Health Care Funding is a national system for ongoing care. As national policy and local preference is increasingly about integrated care, we hope that national policy will be improved in the near future to support people better."
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring people get the care they need and palliative and end of life care services play a hugely important role in providing support for at the most difficult times of their lives.
“If there is a change in eligibility, it is essential alternative funding arrangements are agreed and put into effect before any withdrawal of existing funding, to ensure continuity of care for people when they need it the most.
“We are committed to reforming the adult social care system and, as set out in the Queen’s Speech, we will bring forward proposals later this year.”
Ms Blundell has thanked staff at Morrisons in Pinchbeck who provided afternoon teas for the veteran and his wife to enjoy. She said: “It meant a lot to them.”