Report (2nd Day)

Part of Care Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 6:02 pm on 14th October 2013.

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Photo of Baroness Wheeler Baroness Wheeler Opposition Whip (Lords) 6:02 pm, 14th October 2013

My Lords, these are mostly technical amendments, which we support. We are especially pleased that the concerns and proposed improvements to the portability process put forward by the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, are addressed in the amendments in this group. We need to do as much as possible to reduce the likelihood of the person not having services on the day of the move to the new authority.

Continuity of care is critical to portability, and the requirement placed on the first authority to keep in touch with the second in the period leading up to the move to ensure that services are in place and ready, and that the person is kept informed and up to date, is very important for a safe and risk-free move. They are also required actively to ensure continuity of care until the new assessment is in place. That is absolutely right, as is the second authority being required to have regard to the outcomes that the person wishes to achieve in the care and support plan that they had before the transfer.

I congratulate the noble Baroness on having finally achieved most of what she set out to in her own Private Member’s Bill. As she said earlier, workable continuity of care is within sight. Her tenacity and determination will mean that many people will now be able to make the move to different parts of the country, to be closer to their families or to care and support that they have not previously been able even to contemplate.

We support the government amendments dealing with cross-border issues with Wales. They follow extensive discussion and agreement with the Welsh Government. The Minister’s detailed correspondence to noble Lords explaining the purpose of the amendments in relation to such key issues as arbitration on cross-border disputes, responsibility for mental health aftercare and sorting out direct payments for this care and residential care to reflect recent change of practice in England was very helpful to the House in getting the full picture of the proposed changes.

In respect of the amendments on ordinary residence, NHS accommodation placements, cross-border hospital stays and the need to ensure that the Care Bill provides for accommodation provided under the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland legislation, the Minister’s note of last week emphasises that all changes have been agreed with each of the devolved Administrations, and obviously that is as it should be. Are the provisions for four-way reciprocity on cross-border placement in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland now fully in place with these amendments to the Bill, or does more work need to be undertaken as the detail is worked through further?

Specifically on government Amendment 64, I understand that the LGA and ADASS are looking to model the impact of a person’s place of residence on the cost pressures within the social care system. To assist this work, which will be very valuable to the whole House, will the Government now publish the information that they have on the impact of cost pressures on extending the territorial reach of the Bill into Wales?