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By Debbie le Quesne

A snapshot of change and the devil in the detail

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More than 600 council-run care home beds have been lost in Wales over the past five years, the BBC announced today.

And the future is not looking good either, with forecasts of more to go.

The figure from our Welsh neighbours will undoubtedly be deeply worrying for many of our care providers, offering a quick snapshot of how nationally the way we look after our ageing population is dramatically changing.

Research by BBC Radio Cymru’s Post Cyntaf programme shows one in five beds have been cut in the past five years.

The move is part of drive, not just in Wales, but nationally, to opt for care in the community and private domestic homes.

Age Cymru policy adviser Amy Clifton said it would mean more people being forced to pay for private care.

Mark Drakeford, chair of the Welsh assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee, was reported as saying it was a long-term trend affecting the 23,000 people needing care. But he added: “on the whole it’s not necessarily bad news”.

He said local authorities had “diversified into other forms of residential care” and moved away from the traditional residential care home set-up.

He also said money was not the “key driver” behind the changes in social care, insisting people preferred to remain in their own homes.

We are all aware that the future of care is changing, but I cannot help champion the need for residential homes to be a key part of the emerging picture.

And I’m troubled too that the quality of care in the community is being affected by ever-decreasing budgets.

The Beeb reports that The Older People’s Commissioner’s office says that it has concerns about the decline in the figures, given by 20 of the 22 local authorities

Ms Clifton said: “In general we believe that the existing arrangements for providing care in Wales are struggling under increasing pressure and a lack of resources.

“Under current funding arrangements a significant number of people are required to self-fund their care.”

Frankly, I too share her concerns.

I am all for care diversity, for increasing choices, for allowing a community-centric initiative to develop, but . . . care quality must not be compromised.

Mr Darkeford assures us that money is not a driver in the changes.

Perhaps Wales is distinctly different from the rest of the UK because ‘the dirty word’ is pretty high profile in a lot of the meeting I attend.

Quotes from Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales who runs Pendine Park Care Home in Wrexham, articulate my own thoughts excellently: “The notion that you can somehow run a social and intergrated social service and health service without good quality local care home provision, quite frankly, is a fallacy.”

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Written by debbielq

September 6, 2012 at 8:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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