Recently, the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales held a consultation event in Cardiff. Ceri-Anne Fidler, Policy and Development Officer for the Wales Co-operative Centre, gives her perspective on the day’s events.
The Parliamentary Review Panel has been exploring the future of health and social care in Wales. Looking at current challenges faced by the sector, the Review is producing a case for change and proposing ways forward for the future. Their recent consultation event in Cardiff attracted local government officials, health officials, service users and third sector representatives.
Many of the issues raised during the event will be familiar to those working in or using the health and social care sector in Wales. These included the challenges of addressing funding pressures while meeting the needs of an ageing population; providing integrated care and the challenges and opportunities of technology. Central to addressing these issues was the need for a change of culture amongst providers, local authorities and health officials. This in itself was seen as a challenge.
The solutions proposed at the event reflected the diverse range of delegates. Integrated IT systems, apprenticeships and a single point of access for referrals were just some of the practical suggestions. But what role can social businesses play in addressing some of the challenges discussed?
A recurring theme in discussions was the need for an outcomes focused person-centred approach to care. This means an approach based on partnerships, and an equal relationship between practitioners and people who need care and support and carers who need support. This can help people get the care they need when they need it, helping people be more active in looking after themselves and so reduce pressure on health and social care. Social businesses are well-suited to such an approach. They offer high quality services that are value-based. They firmly place service users at the heart of service design and delivery, providing responsive services that are citizen directed giving a stronger voice and greater control to service users and carers. You can find some excellent case studies of social businesses in the social care sector on our Care to Co-operate webpage. This is reflected in the Social Services and Well-being Act which places a duty on local authorities to promote the development, in their area, of social enterprises, co-operative organisations, user led services and the third sector organisations to provide care and support for people and carers, with an emphasis on early intervention and preventative services. We’d welcome further recognition from the Panel of the potential of social businesses in providing person-centred care and support services.
They will be publishing their findings from the first phase of their review this summer when there will be further opportunities for the social businesses to feed into the Review, sharing their experiences and knowledge and helping to shape future approaches in Wales. Further information will be posted on the Review Panel’s website.
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