Commissioning social care
Social Care is estimated to make a direct contribution of £1.2 billion to the economy of Wales with a further £2.2 billion contribution which includes the impact on suppliers and the money spent by all employees (source: Social Care Wales). This consists of residential care, domiciliary care, nursing care, day care, personal assistants and other services. The social care sector employs over 90,000 people making it the 7th largest employment sector in Wales.
In Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney social care is a vitally important system of support for many people. It enables people to live independently for longer, it provides respite in times of need, it enables people to participate in the wider community.
So as part of my work on “your local health and care services” I will look at the planning, commissioning and co-production of social care in the wake of the Social Services and Well-Being Act 2014. That Act was designed to give people more of a say in the care and support they receive. This means decisions being taken in partnership with easy access to information and advice about the support which is available. Carers also gained rights of access to support.
“Commissioning is .. the process of identifying needs within the population and of developing policy directions, service models and the market, to meet those needs in the most appropriate and cost effective way” (Source IPC (2016) National Commissioning Board (Wales). “AT its most basic, commissioning involves understanding need and then ensuring there is a supply of services to meet that need”.
It will also be interesting to see to what extent the work of the National Commissioning Board is leading to local changes and/or improvements in the quality of commissioning and the integration of commissioning between local authorities and local health boards. The views of voluntary and third sector providers will be of interest on the question of quality in commissioning.
I am also aware that local government has significant concerns around the financing of care services after a prolonged period of UK austerity policies and in the light of changing demographics placing demands on services.
This is a really important discussion about local health and care services so get in touch with your views and experiences in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.