Friends and family can help look after you? Then you’ll get less professional care

healthcare changesLocal councils plan to cut the professional care entitlement for people who can call on friends, family and neighbours to help, according to research by the Volkskrant.

Responsibility for all home care services is being switched from national to local government from next year, coupled with a major budget cut. And local councils say they will make the necessary savings by reducing care services to those who can call on their social circle for help instead.

The Volkskrant carried out its research in 96 of the 400 plus Dutch local authority areas.

‘Many people would rather be helped by someone they know than a stranger,’ Jack Veraat of Terneuzen town council told the Volkskrant. ‘Not everyone wants professional carers around them.’

In terms of youth care services, 90% of councils said they would pay for less professional help if family and friends can get involved. And just three councils said they would not determine how much care the frail elderly and people with chronic health problems should get without taking friends and family contributions into account.

‘In our experience, people are honest,’ West Maas en Waal official Bert van Swam told the paper. For the past two years the council has been asking people who need help what their friends and family can do. ‘The number of hours of professional help has gone down substantially,’ he said.

The government makes no secret of the fact it wants neighbours and family to be more involved in helping the elderly and handicapped stay in their own homes, so ‘keeping healthcare affordable’.

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