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Caring For Vulnerable People: It’s Not About The Money

By Principal Lawyer, Court of Protection

Thousands of patients could be forced into care homes, according to information shared with the Health Service Journal (HSJ).

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Following Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from campaign group Disability United, HSJ found that 37 NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England were contemplating care decisions that could force up to 13,000 people with health conditions into care homes.

Sadly, it’s no surprise that CCGs, like local authorities, are considering drastic steps in relation to care provision for vulnerable people with an eye to cutting costs.

The continuing debates about the NHS and social care crises are much more than political or funding issues; they are, first and foremost, about vulnerable people and how a civilised society should aim to help and care for them.

A cycle of budget cuts, strains on the NHS and austerity have left so many CCGs and local authorities with difficult financial decisions to take.

Whilst CCGs and local authorities have a duty to best manage limited funds to meet the care needs of those in greatest need, as public bodies they are legally obliged to make care decisions, and decisions about the funding of care, in a fair and balanced way. Care is not simply about costs, it is primarily about the people who need care, their dignity, their ability to lead independent lives and their human rights.

The right to respect for privacy and private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights must always be considered when making any decisions about the care needs of vulnerable people.

The continuing debates about the NHS and social care crises are much more than political or funding issues; they are, first and foremost, about vulnerable people and how a civilised society should aim to help and care for them.

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What Can You do if You or a Loved One Are Not Receiving Adequate Care?

If you feel that your care needs are not being met, you have a right to challenge care decisions.

The NHS and local authorities have the power to provide care, and the right care, for those who need it most and the law, for example the Care Act 2014, enables those who need care to argue that decisions should be about far more than money.

If you, your carer or your family struggle to tackle the NHS or local authority about their care decisions  you can seek legal advice from a disability rights solicitor 

For more information, see my previous blog: Safeguarding Vulnerable People in Care: Who is Responsible?

 

Richard Copson is a principal lawyer in Slater and Gordon’s court of protection team, specialising in mental capacity law, disability rights and human rights law.

For a consultation with a human rights solicitor, call Slater and Gordon Lawyers 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.

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