The UK government's guidance on the care act appears to contradict its aim to give patients control of their own care, claim two academics.
The academics examined the draft guidance issued in June which is expected to form council practice and policy in response to the act nationwide.
The article containing the claims by Colin Slasberg and Peter Beresford from Brunel University is published in the journal Disability and Society published by Taylor & Francis.
Slasberg and Beresford concluded that rather than guiding councils to the person-centred approach enshrined in the legislation, the guidance encourages councils to continue with the current approach which they described as: "system of eligibility that leads to practices that are resource-led, not person-centred or needs-led."
They cite a lack of strategic outcome for service users which explicitly refuses to define standards that care should reach and, in their view, the guidance also rejects the concept of independent living.
The act's view that individuals are best placed to judge their own wellbeing is in the guidance, however the final decisions about a person's care continue to remain with the local council.
The guidance also they claim neglects to provide councils help with making decisions about which residents to support and which not to when budgets are constrained.
Slasberg and Beresford concluded: "Wittingly or otherwise, the effect is to create a smokescreen for the continuation of a system that has served short-term political objectives well, but has been anathema to the person-centred system that government claims to want."
They suggest that alternative interpretations of the act which refer to it directly, and not to the guidance, could be used by councils to make decisions about their care services.
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