Herefordshire Council is planning to change the way adult social care is provided to give a better, more personalised service to local residents.
The council wants to encourage and support people to live independently and stay healthy for as long as possible. The council also wants more people to get involved in choosing the services they want, deciding who should provide them and purchasing their chosen services directly.
In Herefordshire, the majority of adult social care support services are provided by the independent and voluntary sector. However some services, including social work, are provided by council staff who were seconded to Wye Valley NHS Trust in 2011. The idea behind this move was to provide better integration between social care and health, supporting people and helping them live healthier lives at home for longer.
Working as a single integrated organisation has meant services have been delivered more efficiently and seamlessly, providing greater choice for patients/service users and improving the experience patients and service users receive.
The new Care and Support Bill and changes in the NHS mean that the council now needs to focus on greater integration for social work services and look at different ways of delivering some of the other services.
The council’s contract with Wye Valley NHS Trust comes to an end in September 2013. As part of a drive for better financial control and to maximise efficiency, the plan is to bring seconded staff back into the council where a restructure will be undertaken to make changes in operating practice. At the same time, the council is looking for other providers to manage the following services from September 2013:
*Community equipment store
Adult placement scheme
Norfolk House sheltered accommodation
People who use services or who are likely to need services in the future are currently being consulted with about the types of services and activities they wold like to see provided in the future. The council is also talking to staff who might be interested in setting up businesses, local groups, organisations and existing providers to find out what kinds of support and activities they can provide for people to purchase.
Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: ““To boost choice and encourage people to sign up to the personalisation agenda, we need to create a vibrant market that has lots more activities and services available for people to choose from.
“As well as talking to residents, we want to hear from providers, communities, and any other groups interested in providing these services. We are particularly interested in hearing from some of our staff who may wish to use this opportunity to become sole traders or set up small businesses in order to offer some of the activities people might be interested in purchasing.
“Adult social care affects all of us at some time in our lives and I would urge people to get involved in helping pave the way for change by visiting our website and completing the online survey. We have the opportunity to completely transform the way we deliver support and care and create something better for Herefordshire people. ”
The council will be gathering views through a mixture of online surveys, meetings with affected services, users, carers and staff over the next few weeks. The consultation will be published on the council’s website on Friday 7th June and will run until 19th July.