Wales'' ''bold new models of care'' will ''fail without funding''
An independent panel commissioned by the Welsh Government has published its vision for health and social care, however critics say its failure to address the “fundamentally important issue of funding” puts the plan in jeopardy.
The Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales was commissioned by the Welsh Government to come up with ideas for the future delivery of health and social care services.
The review recommends ‘bold new models of care with services organised around the individual and their family, as close to home as possible’.
In addition, ‘services need to be preventative, easy to access and of high quality. They also need to be seamless, and delivered without artificial barriers,’ said the report.
Dr Ruth Hussey, chair of the review panel and former Chief Medical Officer for Wales, said: “The scale of the challenge ahead should not be underestimated. It is clear that change is needed and even clearer that this should happen quickly.
“We have detected an appetite for change and a desire to ‘get on with it’. A strong commitment to transform not just how much is done, but what and how it is delivered is needed.”
She added: “We hope that this report will be a catalyst for the action that is needed, and help to guide the future of health and social care in Wales.”
The review was not commissioned to look at funding in health and social care, but the report notes they ‘consume a growing proportion of the Welsh Government’s budget, at the expense of other public service areas, for example education, housing and the arts, which also have a great influence on the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales’.
Its recommendations include moving resources away from big hospitals, investing in new technology and giving patients more choice about how and where they want to be cared for.
Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “I’m pleased the report suggests that what we are already doing in Wales with regard to the integration of health social care services is right, but we will need to carefully consider the findings of this review to see how this can be improved in the future.”
Mario Kreft, chair of Care Forum Wales, which represents hundreds of independent providers, welcomed the overall findings of the review but expressed concern that its remit excluded funding and said the “failure to properly address the fundamentally important issue of funding” would prevent the recommendations being put into practice.
He said: “There are 10 key recommendations in the report and I believe the most important of these is a new model of care offering a holistic system and seamless service focusing on the individual receiving care. “This means health and social services working together rather than separately as at present.
“A separate system, in which people have to deal with perhaps two different agencies as well as our members as the service provider, takes a lot longer for people to deal with and creates a lot of slack.
“However, it’s clear from the report that an holistic system will not be about wholesale restructuring but rather redirecting the system to focus on delivery to users, which is good to see.”
Mr Kreft also praised the report for recommending extra focus on the social care workforce.
He said: “At last there is proper emphasis being given to recognising long-term recruitment issues and improving training, support and the capacity for our staff to innovate.
Another area in the report applauded by Care Forum Wales, he said, was a suggestion that the public be provided with clearer and more accessible information, with the particular needs of Welsh speakers, rural areas and areas of deprivation being taken into account.
Mr Kreft added: “One thing which the report doesn’t mention is funding. While I realise this wasn’t in the panel’s remit and has been accurately described as the elephant in the room.
"The independent sector is very fragile...care homes are closing all the time because they are not financially viable and many more are under threat, with domiciliary care companies also under a huge amount of pressure and handing back or unable to take on contracts."
To read the report go to http://gov.wales/docs/dhss/publications/180116reviewen.pdf
Author: Sue Learner
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