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Daily Living Aids: Purchasing Independence

Daily Living Aids - Purchasing Independence

Social Media and Content Marketing Specialist for Manage At Home and Medequip, Tom Rogers explores how self-funding of Daily Living Aids (DLAs) is proving vital for independent living and whether it could help towards reducing the current strain on the NHS.

Throughout last December's General Election, the future and current state of the NHS became an ever-present in party politics and media reporting, throwing doubt in the minds of the electorate, many of whom rely on the 71-year-old British service.

Local Authorities: Stretching the budget

With financial strains limiting Health and Social care and diminishing budgets for local councils, self-funding of equipment and daily living aids offers an option to not only guarantee ownership of what you require but provides you with a wider range of products than what would be available to you via Community Equipment Loan Service catalogues.

In a report published by the House of Commons, the Health and Social Care Committee stated that services are struggling to keep up with balancing finances and need. 'The combination of rising demand and cost in the face of reductions in funding has placed the social care system under unsustainable strain' (Long-term funding of adult social care, 2019). This indicates that without either major investment in the sector or an alternative option is adopted by the masses (like self-funding equipment), the social care system could be derailed.

Often in Community Equipment Service contracts, there are specifications involved that require the contract holder to have a retail offering, that gives constituents the option of self-funding. An example of this would be Medequip's retail website being Manage At Home.

This is vital, as it means that it relieves pressure on the budget of local council/Care Commissioning Groups (CCGs), and puts the power of decision into the service user's hand, offering thousands of alternatives to what can be a relatively limited equipment catalogue approved by commissioners.

From his 2019 opinion piece 'The NHS long-term plan will fail unless social care is properly funded too', Niall Dickson, chief executive at the NHS Confederation stated that national services could suffer without a stable line of credit to rely on. '(Public health and social care services) have been decimated in recent years and this has not only left hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people with unmet needs, but it has also ramped up the pressure on GP surgeries, A&E departments and other NHS services.' (Dickson, 2019)

In their 2019 article 'Choosing and buying equipment', Which? echo Dickson's points by highlighting the need for self-funding websites, stating that the prevalence of need for disability aids are opening the doors of opportunity in the social care sector. '...with an ageing population and cash strapped local authorities, other options have become necessary.'(Which?, 2019)

Budgetary responsibility and the government: Levelling the debt

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson promised more NHS funding in his election campaign. However, reports from other parties challenged Johnson's pledge with claims that the NHS would be 'on the table' in future UK-US trade agreements.

In an attempt to reduce the deficit, the Conservative Party cut funding to several services, including social care, following reported mass over-spending from the previous incumbents, as well as the banking collapse of 2008. In the 2015 independent report from The King's Fund, titled 'How Serious Are The Pressures In Social care?', they outline the decline of funding in a country who's needs are rising rapidly. '(The government) has failed to protect adult social care from unprecedented cuts in spending, and the number of people getting publicly funded social care has fallen by a quarter despite growing demographic need' (The King's Fund, 2015).

An inconvenient truth: The importance of self-funding

With the prevalence of need for disabilities and the age of the UK population both increasing, it is becoming harder year on year to sustainably fund care services without self-funding becoming a more viable option for all, which is the only proven way to alleviate pressure on budgetary restrictions.

However, an injection of money invested into the NHS is necessary to start the process of promoting self-funding options, as advice and guidance when purchasing products need to be readily available for people to find products to properly suit their needs.

Useful Resources

Manage At Home Website

AskSARA Self Help Guide

Bibliography

Long-term funding of adult social care. (2019). [ebook] authority of the House of Commons. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcomloc/768/768.pdf

Which?. (2019). Choosing and buying equipment - Which?. [online] Available at: https://www.which.co.uk/later-life-care/home-care/how-to-buy-mobility-and-living-aids/choosing-and-buying-equipment-a3d7h0d4lws9

Dickson, N. (2019). The NHS long-term plan will fail unless social care is properly funded too. [online] Nhsconfed.org. Available at: https://www.nhsconfed.org/blog/2019/01/the-nhs-long-term-plan-will-fail-unless-social-care-is-properly-funded-too

The King's Fund. (2015). How serious are the pressures in social care?. [online] Available at: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/verdict/how-serious-are-pressures-social-care

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