Thinking outside the Box to Improve Care Services; Plaid Cymru Health Spokeswoman Elin Jones Discusses the Case for the Integration of Health and Social Care Services
Byline: Plaid Cymru
THE case for integrating Health and Social Care services for adults has been much debated and is widely agreed.
It is a matter that Plaid Cymru has been campaigning on for some time, and it is good to see that the Welsh Government has begun developing policies to increase the integration of services through its consultation paper on a Framework for Provision of Integrated Health and Social Care for Older People with Complex Needs.
We know that, often, older people become intensive users of the NHS, not because they are emergency cases but simply because the nursing and medical care that they need is not available to them in their homes or elsewhere. For the same reason, their discharge from hospital when they are well enough to leave is often delayed.
By integrating care and nursing packages, people would be able to stay in their homes longer and return to their homes sooner.
There is agreement that integration needs to happen. The question now is how it should happen.
On the ground there are examples of partnerships and joint budgets where fully integrated packages are provided to individuals, but these are few and far between.
The most obvious example here in Wales is the Gwent Frailty Project.
Work is ongoing to integrate services for adults in need, but it is patchy and inconsistent.
We need to increase the availability of these services and standardise them throughout Wales. This work needs to be a priority for the Welsh Government in the short term.
This was one of the reasons why Plaid Cymru secured a PS50m fund for an intermediate care package. To access the fund, local authorities and local health boards are required to prepare a joint bid to finance services aimed at keeping people out of hospitals. Services that could be provided include: post-hospital re-ablement services to an individual at home or in the community, 24/7 rapid response teams working in the community with GPs to avoid inappropriate hospital admissions, and care and repair home services. …