Portsmouth council to review how residents pay for care after concerns groups were 'unfairly' charged

RESIDENTS paying for their social care costs in Portsmouth could see fees reduced in the future after concerns that different groups have been 'unfairly' charged for essential services.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:00 am
Keith McKnight and his son Joe who called from the learning disability cap to be brought back. Picture from Keith McKnight

City councillors agreed to a review of all social care services for adults including those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health issues and the elderly, with a view to see if the council could take on most of the cost.

Currently adult residents needing care have to cover the cost themselves based on a means tested system. And since September 2018 adults with learning disabilities have also been means tested after a £60 a week cap was scrapped.

Tory councillor Terry Norton asked colleagues to reinstate the learning disability cap after speaking to families in the city.

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Speaking at full council he said: 'For some families their contributions are £500 a week. This is a significant burden.

'It's a cruel scheme that punishes some of the city's most diligent families. In some cases costs have risen by as much as eight times the amount of what they were paying.

'How much does it really cost the council? It is a drop in the ocean for us but for a family that is struggling it's going to feel like a tidal wave.'

But the council's health boss, Cllr Matthew Winnington, explained the cap was dropped to match the system for other adults in social care. He said: 'People with different kinds of disabilities were being charged the maximum and people with learning disabilities were not. If it was up to me it would be free for all.

'We've got to be realistic and not discriminate against one client group.'

Cllr Winnington therefore proposed a review of the whole adult social care system which was agreed to.

The city's disability champion John Attrill said: 'I wish to see a reinstatement of the cap of what people with learning disabilities have to contribute to. If I was notified when the decision was being made I would've made a representation then.

'Many people with learning disabilities complain to me all the time about paying for services.'

It is thought paying for all adult social care services would cost Portsmouth City Council £140,000 a year.