Major shake-up for non-residential care, €2bn chopped from budget

Friends and neighbours will play a much greater role in taking care of the elderly and handicapped in a new vision of long-term care outlined by junior health minister Marlies Veldhuijzen van Zanten on Wednesday, the Volkskrant reports.

The minister was outlining her plans for the AWBZ public insurance scheme which funds residential and nursing home care as well as exceptional medical expenses. Ministers will discuss the plans later today.
Veldhuijzen plans to cut almost €2bn from the AWBZ budget, which is largely funded by work-related premiums. In future, the AWBZ will only cover institutionalized care, and local authorities will be responsible for home-based help. Some 300,000 people will lose their entitlement to help.
Volunteers and school children
Councils will be able to use ‘professional support, volunteers and school pupils on community work experience schemes’ to supply the care, the minister wrote.
They will also get extra funding ‘ in proportion to their new tasks’, the minister is quoted as saying by the paper. She did not go into details.
It would be up to councils themselves to decide how much extra care to provide, and they would have to answer to the general public, she said.

Personal budgets

As reported earlier, the government is also planning to scrap personal care budgets for 117,000 people by 2014.
People living in care homes will also have to pay rent from 2013 and those on low incomes will be able to claim housing benefits, the minister said.
The minister also plans to increase spending on hospitals by €852m by 2013, which will enable them to take on an extra 12,000 members of staff.
The government’s anti-Islam alliance partner PVV had made 12,000 new nurses a condition of its support for economic reforms.

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