Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles yesterday delivered a speech to the National Children and Adult Services Conference 2014 on the launch of Better Care Fund:
When I started at Bradford Council 35 years ago I joined the Social Services Committee. Because I was interested in the subject. And the fact, if I’m honest, that no other councillor wanted to be on it. It was regarded as a backwater.
In past 35 years a lot has changed. Now it dominates. It was the beginning of Care in the Community.
I had an inspirational director of social services, John Crook, who taught me many things:
- how expensive social care was
- and how there was a demographic time bomb in terms of costs
He was right. But above all he taught me that it was not all about money. It was about respect for the most vulnerable. John died a few years ago. I hope John would be proud today.
We all want:
- a better way of caring for our ageing population
- a better way of providing services
- a better way of offering them dignity and independence
We all call them the vulnerable. But they are our parents, our grandparents, sometimes our children, our neighbours, our friends. People who want our support, but don’t want to be type-cast or wrapped in cotton wool.
Who want a straightforward and predictable way of receiving care, and to avoid excessive fuss and hassle so they can maintain their independence.
Just because you are old you do not lose your humanity or dignity.
Just because you are vulnerable you should not lose your voice.
You have a right to decide when and where you want your care:
- at home
- closer to home
- nearer friends and family
Achieving this is something that people have talked about doing for generations, but they struggled to act.
The Better Care Fund now offers us an opportunity to finally change the way things are done.
Today, with Jeremy, I can announce the first stage of this transformation. A new national standard of care for the elderly that will begin in April next year. This new standard will deliver 4 major improvements.
- 7-day social care, which will mean older people can expect the same level of care every day of the week, and don’t need to make unnecessary trips to hospital on the weekend
- a single named professional will join up individual services around peoples’ needs, so they have a predictable and consistent service from 1 person, and don’t feel like they’re being passed from pillar to post
- information will be shared in a better way, so people don’t have to repeat their story endlessly to different professionals
- joint assessments will help assess peoples’ needs quickly and efficiently
It’s a new national standard, but it won’t be a top-down, one-size-fits-all service. Every area will have their own local plan. And today I can announce that after months of hard work we have got virtually all of your local plans approved.
We are determined that everyone, everywhere will get quality care.
The £3.8 billion initial investment from our department and the
has been boosted by your contributions to more than £5 billion.
So better care is truly a shared achievement we can all be proud of.
We can stand here together and say that – for all the sceptics who told us it wasn’t possible – this programme is on track and set to begin on time.
It’s about joined up government, joined up services and joined up thinking.
The fruit of joint work between health and wellbeing boards across the country, that are made up of local councils and health services, as well as 2 government departments, the
, and the LGA
What is better care?
So what will better care look like?
The most obvious change is we don’t want to see people in
who should not be there. When you are old and vulnerable that’s the last place you want to be.
Better care will mean:
- a better focus on prevention
- fewer people getting ill in the first place
- fewer needless accidents
- and fewer people getting exasperated trying to get the care they need
Above all, it will mean helping people to stay at home when they want to. Or, when that is not possible, getting home from hospital more quickly and safely. It will mean giving people the right support, so they can enjoy the level of independence they need, and preserve their dignity and privacy. This will be a meaningful change in services that people notice, not background bureaucratic tinkering.