On 14 December 2009, the Personal Care at Home Bill was debated in its second reading. The Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham, stated that it will “provide support to more than 400,000 of the most vulnerable people in our constituencies, including people with advanced conditions such as Parkinson’s, dementia, Alzheimer’s and motor neurone disease”.
The Bill will provide for those with the greatest care needs to be offered free personal care at home. Existing powers allow local authorities to provide certain community care services free of charge for up to six weeks. The Bill will remove this time limit in respect of personal care at home for those with the greatest need.
The Secretary of State for Health claimed that the legislation proposed had two clear purposes:
- To end the lottery in home care for the most vulnerable members of the community and remove the fi nancial burden on such people and their families. Currently, the help provided varies according to where the individual lives, which is unfair
- To make the existing system fairer and pave the way for a bigger reform of social care in the next Parliament and as a fi rst step towards establishing a National Care Service
There has been debate over where the additional funding will come from, with local councils having to foot some of the bill to help care for the sick and elderly in their own homes. It has been stated that the Department of Health would provide £420m, with the rest made up from local authority contributions. The Bill received an unopposed second reading.