Oxford, UK – 13 March 2008 – Research carried out by Bettercaring, the UK’s leading care home search engine, has uncovered uncertainty and scepticism regarding the government’s new personal care budget scheme.

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The personal care budgets initiative will be rolled out nationally in April, following trials in 13 pilot sites throughout the UK. Personal Care Budgets aim to give people in need of social care greater control over their care, delivering money on a monthly basis, providing people with more freedom to spend on whatever services they require.

Following a number of interviews with participants across the pilot areas, Bettercaring found that across the board there were concerns that the system will do more harm than good. Feedback gathered suggested that the applications for personal budgets are too extensive and require individuals to take on a high level of responsibility in order to employ carers and get access to the care they require,

Valerie Tugwell, who took part in the Essex pilot scheme, claimed she was left facing bureaucratic hurdles as she tried to arrange for meals on wheels and a carer to help her dress in the morning and to prepare an evening meal.

”You have to be very, very careful what you say and how you say it, otherwise the plan will be turned down,” says Valerie.

“You need to be a solicitor and a financial adviser all in one to fill this in. It involves a lot for the average man on the street.”

This also places the burden of responsibility on the person needing care – and not on the local authorities or agencies who provide it.

Sue Welsh, 34, a carer, is more than £5,000 in debt since leaving her job to care for her sick mother. She said:

“The personal care budgets will only help partially, as people like me will use the money to pay off credit cards that have previously been used to pay for care. The money won’t get spent on care homes or care workers.”

Dan Parton, senior journalist at Bettercaring, said; “It is understandable that older people are concerned about the employment law implications of personal care budgets and the government should clarify this and ensure that adequate support is in place for people using the scheme.”



1) The pilot sites chosen for the study were: Gateshead, Coventry, West Sussex, Manchester, Oldham, Barnsley, Lincolnshire, Barking and Dagenham, Kensington and Chelsea, Leicester, Bath and North East Somerset, Essex and Norfolk.

About Bettercaring
Bettercaring, part of the OLM Group, is an online service for anyone looking for care, needing answers to questions about care or the funding of care or simply looking for someone to talk to. Bettercaring provides an online database of more than 20,000 registered care homes and nursing homes across the UK.  Bettercaring boasts more than 500,000 unique users per annum and some 2,000 individual care home searches every day.

Bettercaring has been designed for easy navigation and covers the following areas:
• Care information – factsheets on the types of care available, information on funding options and coverage of health issues
• Care search –  a search engine for all UK care homes
• Care discussion – includes: a discussion forum, enabling carers and those looking for care to discuss issues and ask questions; the latest news; reviews of care and nursing homes and products; articles about people in care.

Please visit www.bettercaring.com for more information

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