New social care blueprint will put an end to post code lottery in social care

The new blueprint for looking after vulnerable people and children in North Wales has been hailed as the “most important development in social care for two generations”.

The Welsh Government’s Bill to radically reshape the provision of  social care will potentially save millions of pounds a year by slashing red tape, concentrating more resources on front line services.

The Bill, Sustainable Social Services for Wales: a Framework for Action, was unveiled in the Senedd by Gwenda Thomas AM, the Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services.

According to Care Forum Wales  (CFW) which represents more than 500 private social care, the historic legislation is a victory for common sense

CFW was particularly pleased that plans for a national approach to assessing the needs of vulnerable people would help to end the post code lottery in care and help to reduce pressure on the NHS.

The legislation was announced against a backdrop of cash-strapped local authorities paying “unrealistically low fees” to independent care providers.

CFW believe that a better integration of the independent sector will help to reduced bed blocking in hospitals by providing more appropriate and more cost-effective care in the community.

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said:  “We’re delighted with the legislation  because it recognises that at a time of increasing need; with dwindling resources this is a blueprint for action.

“It’s potentially the most important change to social care in two generations which is going to hopefully cut bureaucracy  and focus resources and services to where people need them.

“It enshrines in law the importance of the contribution of the independent sector in providing social care.

“At a time of austerity, this is about doing things better and more cost-effectively. It’s a victory for common sense .

“We have been stressing that we simply cannot sustain 22 different ways of commissioning services with different eligibility criteria.

“In the case of social care, we also have seen local health boards to deal with so you can be a provider in Wales with 29 contracts. It flies in the face of the current financial reality.

“We believe that this legislation has the potential to take millions of pounds worth of cost each year out of the bureaucracy.

“By streamlining the way we do things it should be possible to target our resources so that we can better provide early intervention and reablement services.

“As well as focusing resources at the sharp end of social care, the changes will also mean that  more people can remain independent at home.

“At the same time we’re hoping that those who need step up or step down facilities will not need to go to hospital and will be able to find another more appropriate service.

“The most damning failure of the current system is the lack of a national eligibility framework and portable assessments of need which led to a postcode lottery of care and huge, unnecessary pressure on the NHS.

“At Care Forum Wales, we have been calling for the proposed national framework since 1993 and we are delighted that this is a central plank of the new policy.

“The idea of having a single set of eligibility criteria that are transferrable has to be right. It defied logic to have so many different contracts when we can streamline the service.

“This blueprint sets out a new approach and the ways of working in the past are no longer acceptable or fit for purpose..

“It’s essential that local authorities work in partnership and importantly within the legal framework so that we can provide sustainable, high quality services.

“Another important element of the legislation is the commitment to the development and professionalisation of the workforce which certainly chimes with our priorities.

“To be successful, this Bill needs to put choice and dignity at the heart of everything we do.”

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