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This article provides a snapshot of the latest developments in social care reform, which will affect many individuals with a brain injury, along with their family and carers.It has long been of concern that the legal framework funding system for social care is confusing, unfair and unsustainable.

Last year, the Dilnot Commission provided a report to the government, with proposals on how to improve and simplify the system. It is clear that the current system, initially formed to meet the needs and resources of the UK in the 1950s, now requires modernisation to meet the needs of today. The urgency of such an overhaul has been highlighted by the Commission, which predicts that the population in England will include another two million people in need of care over the next 20 years.

Adult social care

In the Queen’s Speech of 9 May, Her Majesty announced that a draft Bill will be published to modernise adult care and support in England. Currently, care services are fragmented, with social care, primary health, community health, hospital services and housing services all working separately from one another, with no modern technology systems in place to allow information sharing between them. Any changes will inevitably affect those with a brain injury and their carers, many of whom require access to these services.

The main suggested benefits of the draft Bill would be that it:

  • Places a duty on local authorities to plan their service around the needs of the local population;
  • Gives more choice and control to those using social care and helps people plan for the future;
  • Simplifies the system and processes to help local authorities and social workers to innovate and achieve results for people;
  • Consolidates existing law into a single statute.

Social care costs

Calls from charities and the social care sector suggests that work needs to be done to look at how social care will be funded, particularly in light of the ageing population and the current economic climate of austerity measures.

The Queen’s Speech made clear last week that only a draft Bill will be drawn up during this Parliament and, therefore, no legislation tackling the reforms will be passed until next year at the earliest.

Lyons Davidson’s Head Injury Team specialises in head and brain injury claims on behalf of the injured party. For more information contact: [email protected]