Clause 49 - Preserved rights: transfer to local authorities of responsibilities as to accommodation
Health and Social Care Bill
Mr Desmond Swayne (New Forest West, Conservative)
I beg to move amendment No. 314, in page 44, line 18, at end insert—
`(8A) The relevant authority may by regulations prescribe that local authorities shall communicate such information as it shall prescribe concerning the effect of this section to persons who are likely to be qualifying persons on the appointed day, in such manner and at such time prior to the appointed day as it shall prescribe.'.
I shall not detain the Committee on a clause that has received such a general welcome. However, there is an important issue. It is proper to remember that one of the principal reasons for which preserved rights were created in the first place was to provide an assurance to those already in care homes that they would be able to remain there. As the Minister has said, there will be a duty on the authorities to identify and to assess those with preserved rights. That assessment may give rise to a quite different—though desirable, I suppose—provision of care than they are currently enjoying. The Government's response to the royal commission on long-term care states at paragraph 2.27:
``Some of the younger disabled people with preserved rights probably should not be in residential care at all.''
It goes on to outline quite desirable and proper alternatives to that. However, the paper continues, and observes in paragraph 2.30 that
``the prospect of changes to both schemes also worries people.''
In paragraph 2.31, it states:
``The Government will therefore issue guidance that people must not be moved against their will out of their existing care homes unless there is a compelling reason why they should move.''
Of course, there has to be some provision for that, but as the Government have acknowledged in their own paper, there is some anxiety. All that we seek is an an assurance from the Government that they will ensure that proper publicity and information is made available ahead of the implementation of those provisions to provide reassurance for those people who will be affected by those provisions.