By Debbie le Quesne

Welsh take a brave stand in transforming care models

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I’ve said before that the Welsh know a thing or two. And to prove me right, they’re just about to transform the way care is being delivered in their wet, but wonderful country.

The new social services and wellbeing bill for Wales will introduce, among other things, a duty to provide support for carers.

I like it – forward thinking, perhaps even brave in this current climate of never-ceasing cuts.

And also being introduces are a national eligibility criteria and a duty to provide “preventive” services.

The Welsh Reablement Alliance, a pressure group of professional organisations campaigning for consistent and high quality reablement services, has endorsed the package of changes.

Preventive services are intended to delay or prevent people developing need for care, thus reducing the financial and social toll on care further down the road.

Simply, the Welsh argue that personalised programmes that help people improve their ability to do the things they want live independently are financially and socially viable.

Good this, isn’t it? And there is a strident step in giving service users a real voice too. The new bill requires local authority assessments to seek to identify the outcomes a person wishes to achieve and the extent to which services can help achieve those aims.

Empowerment, choice and a workable model – seems too good to be true.

The bill will also require health and local authorities to work together. Greater integration between health and social care is a mantra of mine, but in Wales it’s finally happening.

No-one knows yet just how this bill will work out at the grass roots – but things like an eligibility criteria will certainly iron the anomalies we experience with post code lottery care services.

Just how it will work in practice is unclear, but what is important is the political willingness to acknowledge the problem.

Currently carers they have a right to an assessment of need but not to any particular action from that.

This bill creates a new duty to provide support to help them care, including taking into account their wishes to work or have leisure time.

What a great development! I can only assume the potential spend in providing this support would be offset by the sustainability of carer-driven packages.

After the rigours of reading and watching the Stafford Hospital news of the last few days, it’s great to be heading into the weekend on a more positive note.

I wish the Welsh Assembly well as they attempt to realise these aspirations.  


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