As we mentioned in the January edition of the health legal update, the Government’s pledge in the Queen’s speech to provide free personal care at home for the elderly with the highest needs is set out in the Personal Care at Home Bill. The Department of Health has launched a consultation on the proposals for regulations and guidance which can be accessed here and is open until 23 February 2010.

The document anticipates that around £670 million in funding will be required, with £420m from central Government, and £250 million found from local Government efficiency savings.

The statutory change proposed is in fact an amendment of the rather technical provisions of the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc) Act 2003, and will clearly affect the NHS significantly.

It is not entirely clear how the proposals relate to the ideas of the Green Paper on adult social care funding and the launch of a new ”National Care Service”, seeking to stimulate the ”big care debate” just a few months ago.