How long is a piece of string? 

This was a reply to a simple question of social services in Birmingham: how soon will a social worker be allocated to reassess my father’s needs?

To be perfectly honest, it was not helpful. I asked if the department was so underfunded they could not manage their caseload.

I am not allowed to comment on that. 

Is it correct that if my father continues funding himself while under the threshold, he may never recoup the fees he has paid out?

I knew you’d ask me that one. It’s all rather complicated. Isn’t it though? He may not get overpayments refunded but you can ask to see if it can be budgeted for.

Should my father stop paying for his care then, if an overpayment is not refunded?

I can’t suggest you do that, for that could jeopardise his care placement.

Due to a change in my circumstances,  I can no longer afford the voluntary top-up for his fees. What will happen?

If he can’t afford the place, he shouldn’t be there (I paid top up for 4 years until he inherited my late Mum’s money and became self–funding for the last year).  He may need to move. 

Good luck with that. First, you have to find him a place.


Then you have to find him a place that can cope with his nursing care needs (for which the current home receives nursing care allowance).


Then, according to advice from Independent Age, you cannot cause him any detriment which moving him further away from his family will invariably do.

Oh, well, you will need to discuss that with his allocated social worker. 

Is that the one we don’t yet have?


It is true that the social care system is in collapse.

What is worrying is how no one cares. The end-user in this situation is a 90-year-old man (who paid into the system all his life, having started work at 14 and left at 65) with advanced dementia. He cannot fend for himself, yet the social care system is a heap of inequity, inefficiency, under-funding and a poverty of basic caring.

So, when can I expect to hear next steps?

In due course. I will email the team leader to see if this can now be prioritised, but you keep pushing us to make sure something is done. Keep reminding us. 

Oh, I will.

Appalling and shocking.


Published by Dawn Robinson

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