Strong …ly weak and stable..y wobbly on home care charges!

Summary: May is panicking … she will say ANYTHING … as long as it REALLY means NOTHING!

What Owl thinks: the bigger your house, the more money you will be able to leave to your relatives. Yeah, that sounds more like a Tory policy!

“Theresa May has refused to say how high the Conservatives’ new cap on social care costs would be, after announcing an unprecedented U-turn on her manifesto plan to remove the limit.

The Prime Minister became increasingly flustered as she faced a barrage of questions from journalists, having seemingly watered down a key element of the Tory manifesto.

Asked by Channel 4 News’ Michael Crick where she would set the limit, Ms May said: “We have not changed the principles of the policy we set out in our manifesto. Those policies remain exactly the same.”

May waters down ‘dementia tax’ in U-turn after poll lead slashed
The Conservative manifesto’s section on social care makes no mention of a cap. Previously the plan had been to introduce an upper limit of £72,000 on the lifetime cost of a person’s care by 2020.

It said a green paper would be drafted to “address system-wide issues to improve the quality of care”.

But Ms May told journalists at the launch of the Welsh Conservatives’ manifesto: “The plans that we set out were very clear in the manifesto, you can look in the manifesto … We said we would issue a green paper and of course within that green paper we’ll be consulting on the details of the proposals.

“Nobody is going to have to pay for their care, nobody is going to have to pay for their care … while they are alive. Nobody is going to have to lose their family home.

“We have not changed the principles we set out in the manifesto.”

She added: “We will have an upper limit, absolute limit, on the amount people will pay for care.”

It came after a pair of polls showed Labour narrowing the gap on the Conservatives to just nine points, following the launch of Ms May’s manifesto.

The Tories’ lead has halved compared to a week ago, according to Survation, with Theresa May’s party on 43 and Labour on 34.

The poll of 1,034 adults was taken over 19 and 20 May and showed people were more likely to say Labour had the best policies for older people and the NHS.

A YouGov poll had Labour on 35 per cent, their highest of the campaign so far, with the Tories on 44 per cent.”

Turning GP practice private increased costs by 64%

“The procurement of an APMS contract to a private provider – after the closure of a GMS practice – meant costs to the NHS increased by 64%, shows figures obtained by LMC leaders.

Partners at the St Lawrence Medical Practice in Braintree, Essex, were forced to hand their GMS contract back after they were unable to recruit more partners, and NHS England replaced it with an APMS contract run by Virgin Care.

An FOI to NHS England, revealed by Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer from Hertfordshire LMC at the LMCs Conference in Edinburgh, showed that the first year of the Virgin Care practice contract cost 64% moreq than the final 12 months of St Lawrence’s GMS contract.

The FOI, seen by Pulse, also revealed that the Sutherland Lodge practice in Essex was replaced by a Virgin Care APMS practice that increased costs by 16%. Sutherland Lodge had earlier been awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating by the CQC but was forced to close due to the PMS reviews.

The figures were announced as part of a debate on NHS England’s decision to put all new GP practices contracts out to tender under APMS – first revealed by Pulse.

Local leaders voted in favour of the motion, which called on the GPC to take legal advice to ‘challenge the notion that only APMS contracts may be awarded when procuring general medical services’.

Dr Bramall-Stainer told delegates: ‘There was the case of the “Outstanding” Essex practice that was forced into handing back their contract last year due to the enforced PMS contract review.

‘This undermines the whole ethos of long-time continuity of care.’

The FOI response from NHS England said: ‘The budget for the current APMS contract (which commenced on 1 June 2016) will exceed the actual expenditure within the last twelve months of the former GMS partnership (1 June 2014 to 31 May 2015).

‘Following the procurements of the current APMS contracts for the St Lawrence and Sutherland Lodge practices we can confirm that the procurements resulted in the following approximate percentage increases in contract value rates compared to the GMS and PMS arrangements previously in place; St Lawrence: 64%; Sutherland Lodge: 16%.’

Pulse revealed earlier this year that more practices closed in 2016 than ever before.

Virgin Care was approached for comment, but did not respond in time for publication.”

Osborne unwittingly reveals a coalition dirty secret on health and schools

George Osborne in the Evening Standard unwittingly revealing TRUE coalition policies in an article meant to diss Jeremy Corbyn:

“The Coalition government enacted a programme of austerity but claimed that key services such as the NHS and schools would be ‘ring-fenced’ — true in the strict sense that their budgets were not cut, but in practice they faced a prolonged freeze that meant they couldn’t do everything asked of them.”

The REAL cost of the new Tory social care funding?

This post has come from the Save our Hospital Services Devon website – it’s not been verified but, if true, is VERY scary:

“Tim Woodcock Quote from a city worker :

“The Conservatives will attempt to soften the blow by promising that pensioners will not have to sell their homes to pay for their care costs while they or a surviving partner are alive. Instead, ‘products will be available’ allowing the elderly to pay by extracting equity from their homes, which will be recovered at a later date when they die or sell their residence.

I have just seen this post online:

‘People need to read the small print associated with this because its a lot nastier than it looks.

I work in the City. The insurance industry was approached by the Government several months ago with the aim of creating a new market for a new product.
This arrangement is a culmination of those discussions. You wont have to sell your house PROVIDED that you purchase an insurance product to cover your social care. The “premiums” would be recovered from the equity after the house has been sold and the Insurance company will have a lien on the house and can force a sale if it wants to. So your offspring cant keep it on the market for long in order to get the best price.

The real kicker in this is that in order to encourage the industry to market these products the government guaranteed that there would be no cap on the premiums.

This was in some ways “attonement” for Osborne’s destruction of the highly lucrative annuties market. This means that the premiums could be up to (and including) the entire remaining equity in the property after the government has taken its cut. Compamies will be falling over themselves to get their snouts in this trough.

In short your offspring and relatives could get absolutely nothing from your estate.

If you buy one of these products you need to read the small print very very carefully indeed because there will be some real dogs on the market.
I suspect that this is another financial scandal waiting to happen, but by the time it does May will be long gone.”

EDDC and community hospitals: too little, too late, too suspiciously close to the general election

Well, they would say this now (“slamming” the decision to close Honiton and Seaton community beds with those in Axminster and Ottery already gone) wouldn’t they – after saying almost nothing before county elections but with all the recent bad news that reflects badly on incumbent Tory MPs and extremely well on Claire Wright!

Remember: talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words.

NHS Sustainability and Transformation plans: all costings now wrong? And what happens to the money gained?

Surely, May’s announcement of many, many more people being made to pay directly for their social care means that costings in STPs are wrong?

As such, they cannot and should not be implemented.

Those providing the care will also have large assets in the form of charges on people’s homes. How (if at all) will these be ring-fenced for the NHS and/or social care in future?

Those making the charges will have assets and so be able to borrow against them or sell them on to hedge funds – they could, in effect, be packaged and traded just as mortgages were – a big facet of the last big financial crash.

A great deal of money can be made or lost in this situation.

Oh dear.

A critique of NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans

A really good (short and readable) explanation of why they are simply vehicles for undemocratic cuts to the NHS (apologies for long link):