“We want to see services that work in a more joined-up way for the people who depend on them and with local democratic accountability and transparency.” Liberal Democrat policy
What is the challenge?
Social care matters. High quality services for the elderly and vulnerable are a hallmark of a decent society.
Care is Wiltshire Council’s biggest area of spending; around two-thirds of its budget in a typical year is spent on the most vulnerable 1% of the population.
Yet local councils who deliver care have been starved of funds by the government and are using up their reserves to cope with the demand.
Our health and care services’ greatest resource is our staff, but we know the NHS and social care workforce are subject to immense pressure, causing too many to leave.
What will we do?
Looking after thousands of people on a tight budget is a challenge that needs new thinking.
We will boost health promotion to help prevent people needing care services, expand programmes that work well, prioritise all those with greatest need, reduce wastefulness; and work with voluntary groups to improve services.
A joined up approach between the NHS, public health and care services will help tackle problems such as people being left stranded in hospital after their treatment because the follow-up care they need is not available in the community.
A Lib Dem administration will lobby government for appropriate levels of funding for social care.
In Wiltshire, a Liberal Democrat Council will:
- Invest in programmes that offer the best value for our council tax-payers’ money, improving outcomes by providing services to meet each individual’s needs while reducing waste and increasing efficiency;
- Work closely with users of our services to ensure they reflect the needs of our community;
- Expand the Shared Lives programme that helps people live as part of a family, within a carer’s home, to receive the support or care that they need, by seeking a significant increase in the number of host families and users of the service, following the example of other local authorities;
- Review and improve other key programmes, including support for carers and families and ‘reablement’ services that enable people with health challenges to maintain skills for everyday life;
- Look for opportunities to avoid and stop wasting money; for example, by improving contracts with providers of services such as domiciliary care to manage schedules and budgets smoothly and avert the need for costly spot purchasing at short notice;
- Work with all health partners to support development of integrated care centres in our market towns to provide health and care related services closer to home;
- End the shameful practice of 30-minute visits by care workers that are insufficient for many in need and investigate the costs and benefits of reinstating a flexible in-house home care service delivered by skilled community nurses who can address each individual’s various needs on every visit.
- Urgently review the success of the adult social care transformation programme; re-prioritise the budget with a focus on achieving high quality and value for money in social care through innovative means;
- Urgently review the contract for assistive technologies to improve efficiency and re-use;
- Urgently review home care services in South Wiltshire where the recruitment and retention of carers is particularly challenging, including exploring the viability of providing an intermediate care facility in South Wiltshire;
- Review contracts for social care with the aim of improving quality and value;
- Make caring for our carers a high priority; too many people who care for relatives and loved ones at home feel forgotten;
- Establish the ‘co-design’ of care services by working with partners to bring in the lived experiences and insights of carers and families. The aim of this will be to integrate and join up services;
- Instigate a systematic review of Wiltshire’s Emergency Plan and stress test it regularly to ensure the reliable logistics such as supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) and improved arrangements for the reporting data that matter, such as all deaths outside hospital;
- Strengthen the council’s relationships with its health partners, improve joint commissioning and the integration and delivery of services that benefit Wiltshire residents;
- Expect all our social care providers to work smarter by handling and sharing information safely; support the implementation of a shared care record (Local Health Care Record) and drive best use of the Multi Agency Services Hub (MASH) and make the most of opportunities for working remotely where this is appropriate.