Marie, it's great that direct payments are working for you and I don't want to minimise that: but I have seen direct payments being offered to people where it was a "get out" for the authorities who hadn't got a clue how to go about helping, or knew they would have problems recruiting staff - so they tried to dump the problem onto the carer and walk away. Direct payments, like any other way of receiving a service, are not a cure-all, but they work for some people. "Horses for courses," as far as I'm concerned.