Monday, 22 May 2017

The general election in the West Country: the issues >>> health and social care

The Prime Minister's plans for health care were a big part of her manifesto presentation:
Conservatives pledge overhaul of social care funding - community care

How does this compare?
What do the party manifestos mean for the NHS? | Richard Vize | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian

There has since been a bit of a wobble:
Conservatives climbdown over 'dementia tax' after backlash - Sky News
Theresa May waters down 'dementia tax' in extraordinary U-turn after poll lead slashed | The Independent
'Dementia Tax' Debate Heats Up As Tories Buy Google Ads To Counter Negative Coverage | HuffPost UK

As reported by the BBC:

General election 2017: May defends revised social care plans

22 May 2017

Theresa May has defended making changes to the Tories' social care pledge as critics called it a "manifesto meltdown".
The PM told the BBC "nothing has changed" and claimed rival parties had been "trying to scare" elderly people. Her announcement that an overall cap on costs would be included in the Tories' offer followed criticism of the policy, first announced on Thursday.
She said the size of the cap would be the subject of a consultation.

Labour and the Lib Dems said the policy was "in meltdown".
Since the publication of the Conservative manifesto last week, much of the attention has focused on reforms to the way care for elderly and vulnerable adults is funded. The manifesto did not mention an overall cap on costs, instead proposing a £100,000 "floor" beyond which people's assets would be protected.
Speaking to activists in Wales earlier, the PM said the package would now include an "absolute limit" on the money people would have to pay, triggering accusations of a U-turn on the manifesto announcement.
In her interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil, Mrs May denied this and said the principle the policy was based on "remains absolutely the same".

By BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg

Suddenly, only four days after the Tory manifesto was published, Theresa May has added one rather crucial proposal to her social care plan - a limit, or a cap, to the amount of money one individual could be asked to pay.
She is adamant that she is not budging on her principles, and was clearly irritated by questions after her speech that said she was backtracking.
But the manifesto did not include the notion of a cap, and just yesterday ministers publicly rejected such an idea.

Read more from Laura

General election 2017: May defends revised social care plans - BBC News

One of the main critics has been the chair of the Health Select Committee - Devon MP Sarah Wollaston:

Conservative candidate Sarah Wollaston told BBC News: "If you are somebody who has quite a large asset in your home but you might be living on a very fixed low income - that might make it very difficult for you to go home if you couldn't afford special care. I think it's very important that there is a period of grace to help them safely get home from hospital."

Mrs May said the changes will secure the social care system and ensure fairness "across the generations".
But the Bow Group, a Conservative think tank, said it could be the “biggest stealth tax in history”
Conservative candidates are also concerned. Sarah Wollaston, who until the election chaired the House of Commons health select committee, said pensioners on low incomes in expensive houses might not be able to afford care at home.

Cabinet at odds over social care as Theresa May is confronted by a voter about 'dementia tax' - Telegraph

Meanwhile in North Devon, there will be a special general election hustings devoted to the proposed health reforms - called by Save Our Health Services:
Health hustings for North Devon General Election candidates - Breaking news & sport in Devon | North Devon Gazette

In South-West Devon, "people’s biggest concerns are actually NHS and social care":
South West Devon candidates busy on the campaign trail | News | Kingsbridge & Salcombe Gazette

And in East Devon, things have been getting very political:
EDDC and community hospitals: too little, too late, too suspiciously close to the general election | East Devon Watch
NHS Sustainability and Transformation plans: all costings now wrong? And what happens to the money gained? | East Devon Watch

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