We're transforming Care in Wales - Here's how you can help
I was pleased that Plaid Cymru’s National Council earlier this year agreed to establish a Care Commission to look into the future of social care in Wales.
The Commission has 8 members, is chaired by myself as Plaid’s spokesperson on Social Care, and has representatives with experience of local government, social care, health, the voluntary sector and academia. Plaid’s spokesperson on Health, Helen Mary Jones AM is also a member.
The Commission has developed a number of themes that it wants to focus on, and is now taking evidence from a range of organisations and experts in the field. We hope to report our findings next Summer.
It is clear to us all that Social Care in Wales is under immense pressure. A perfect storm of local government cutbacks and an ageing population means that local councils across Wales are struggling to meet demand.
The Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru have stated categorically that ‘Social Care needs to be both a higher political and funding priority for Welsh Government’. The system is in need of reform and support.
We often hear of the truly desperate stories of individuals from across Wales who are not receiving the social care that they need.
It is simply not acceptable, and as a society it should shame us.
Many of the challenges facing social care in Wales are national issues, and I believe that one of the key failures is the lack of a clear, long-term national vision for Social Care by the Welsh Government.
The sector needs to be given a higher status, and this is why I have proposed the establishment of a National Care Service for Wales, to be delivered locally or regionally.
I find it difficult to justify how we have developed a system which sees healthcare being free at the point of need, yet social care having to be paid for. It is simply not fair.
Central to my idea of a National Care Service will be the principle that Social Care is free, and will be funded by general taxation – no more selling homes to pay for social care.
I also believe that there is a need for national direction in terms of training, recruitment and retention. We need to recognise social care as a national priority - setting clear workforce plans, and introducing a National Pay Model which would deliver a living wage to social care workers across the whole of Wales.
The Commission will also look to the evidence available as to what models best ensure that health and social care services work effectively, and that individuals receive a seamless service along a particular pathway.
It is vitally important that we get this right, and I would urge you to provide your thoughts via this page, by e-mail, or by post. The closing date for written submissions is February 28th 2019.