Local organisations came together to understand and report what local people, with assessed support and care needs, experience following changes to the way peoples’ contribution towards the cost of their care is calculated.

Today Healthwatch West Sussex have published concerns over the fairness within the financial assessment process, identified through personal accounts West Sussex residents have shared with Healthwatch West Sussex, Carers Support West Sussex, Impact Initiative and Headway.

The report raises concerns over how people are supported to be prepared for a financial interview, the personal approaches of those undertaking the interviews and assessments and the overall fairness in the process.

West Sussex County Council, who are responsible for meeting the needs of adults who need support to live at home or in the community, have received and commented on the recommendations made within the report.

Janice reflected on her son’s experience

‘It is all very well telling families they can have this, and they can have that but what’s the point when they are giving it to you in one hand and taking it from the other? My son doesn’t understand the concept of all of this and is quite upset at the fact that he is having his money taken away from him and it is very hard to explain it to him.’

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said:

We welcome and acknowledge the Healthwatch report, this has helped to identify some areas of practice which are well below the standards we would expect of our services for our residents. This report will help us to improve the services we provide to our residents and tackle the issues which have been identified.”

Katrina Broadhill, Manager of Healthwatch West Sussex says:

“Identifying and accessing help for social care is often a long and anxious period, that for some residents seems to fall at the last hurdle, when they realise they can’t pay for all the agreed support. Whilst we are pleased with some of the County Council’s plans for improving the fairness around personal contributions, we believe there is still further investigation needed. We are seeking further assurance on the systems and processes used.”

If you have been affected by this process and want to share your story call Healthwatch West Sussex today on 0300 012 0122.