The Care Act may give people with sight loss something to smile about

Post date: 
Friday, 20 March 2015

Tara Chattaway, Policy and Campaigns Officer, Social Care, RNIB, explains why the impending Care Act is no joke for people with sight loss. 

The new Care Act may be coming into force on April Fool’s Day. But the reality of this new legislation reveals that there may be more for blind and partially sighted people to smile about.
For many months now, local authorities have been busy preparing for its introduction, the implications, and the effect on services and support they deliver. 
RNIB recently carried out a freedom of information request to best understand the provision of social care across England for blind and partially sighted people. 
Analysing the responses from 152 local authorities proved interesting. especially surrounding eligibility criteria for rehabilitation services. 
It is regarded as best practice that preventative services should not be charged for, and from 1 April, local authorities will not be able to apply eligibility criteria for adults to access rehabilitation services.  
However, the findings showed: 
  • that 35 per cent of local authorities in England apply current eligibility criteria to rehabilitation services, or are not clear on whether it is applied and 
  • this figure rises to almost 50 per cent in a number of local authorities in the South of England, and include Eastern, South East, London and the South West.
Potentially, this means many people have not been receiving the support that they need before they develop significant needs. However, RNIB will be in contact with these local authorities to find out what criteria they will be using in the future.
NB will be reporting on more of the findings this year and to find out more sign up to receive our e-alerts.