A Lichfield councillor has claimed closer partnership working with voluntary and community sectors is to be a key factor in moving adult social care and health in Staffordshire forward.
Deputy Mayoress of Stafford Borough Ann Millichap, Roger Craven - Chairman of Age Concern Stafford & District, Staffordshire County Councillor Matthew Ellis, Kath Trask - Chief Executive of Age Concern Stafford & District and Deputy Mayor Councillor Malcolm Millichap
Speaking at Age Concern’s Stafford and District AGM on September 9, County Councillor Matthew Ellis (Cons, Lichfield Rural East), Cabinet Member for Adults and Wellbeing, recognised the importance of Age Concern’s work in the area and acknowledged that working alongside the agencies who provide services for older people in Staffordshire is a crucial factor in driving forward plans to progress social care and health services.  Cllr Ellis added:
“It’s very confusing for people who need to access care services to find out who they need to contact for support and advice. It is often the case that they speak to many different people about the same problem which adds to the stress they are already experiencing. “By working much more closely with a range of other agencies, including our partners in Health, we can make life easier for families and individuals.  The introduction of a single point of contact and current information about all relevant services available in Staffordshire from a range of providers will give older people access to far more than is the case currently.  That will just be the start of transforming services.”
A three year plan for fundamental change in care provision in Staffordshire is soon to be launched and Cllr Ellis hopes that this will transform the experience for people using services.
“During my first two months as Cabinet lead for adult social care, I’ve spent a great deal of time meeting staff, carers and the people who use our services and there are too many discrepancies between different areas within the county.  Services that may be widely available in one area may not exist in another and that’s not fair.  By working more closely with local organisations we can look to improve the range of, and access to, facilities that allow older people to have the lifestyle that they choose in their local community. “The user contribution arrangements to the cost of care are also unfair to some and over generous to others. There can be wide variations which have to be addressed. We need a system that is clearly equitable to all, and we need to get this right, particularly as the numbers of people aged 60 or over needing care will increase rapidly in the years ahead. “The conversations we are starting with Staffordshire people about contributions and the big challenges ahead will help to shape future plans and make sure that we put people first. We must involve as many different people as possible including those not receiving care but paying for the countywide services through taxes.  Nearly half of everyone’s Council Tax is spent on Social Care.”


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4 replies on “Partnerships key to adult social care and health – Lichfield councillor”

  1. Can we decode this I wonder? Partnership with voluntary organisations is key to cutting the cost of adult social care sounds about right.

    Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, it’s simply a case of priorities. For example we know that the council is looking at areas of discretionary spending to save money, they told us all that themselves, they also told us that the Garrick Theatre and the districts leisure centres were top of the discretionary spending list.

    Recently the council cut free access to leisure centres for adult mental health patients, then reinstated it until February.

    Now we’re all for bringing in the voluntary sector to help cut spending, it can empower people and lead to a greater sense of community. Perhaps losing the salary of the Garricks Art Director and replacing him with a volunteer would be a good start before cuts to health and social care provisions are made.

    It’s lucky for all of us that the people at LDC ad SCC aren’t running the country. We’d have the greatest theatres in the world and operations being carried out by volunteer students on a gap year.

  2. Cllr Ellis is lucky he has only spoken to the lucky ones recieving care services. I fear he may have narrowly missed a few clips round the ear via walking sticks.

    If this central point of contact has sufficient manpower and therefore increases access to the services people recieve –
    working closer with volunteer groups is unlikely to bridge the gap we currently have.
    Improving the situation of access is no bad thing but i expect an efficient point of contact will simply illustrate a ‘tip of the iceberg’ scenario.
    I am quite aware that most of lichfields aged are not aware of who to call or where to go – pointing them in the right direction is a good start and then we can let the new improved ‘means testing’ begin.

    So lets say we get this ‘hotline’ up and running… where will it be promoted?
    I suggest buss stops, shop notice boards, local papers etc.
    Surely we could just promote the correct different point of contacts that already exist ??

    In the meantime i think it relevant to mention a situation lichfields aged currently face.
    Aged people without a Blue badge cannot be dropped off in the Lichfield town centre (by council ruling).
    Should an 82 year old without a blue badge have to walk in? (we dont wan’t the block paving wearing out do we?)
    When he finally has a blue badge due to the ‘hotlines’ efficiency, how will he be picked up by a taxi when the hydraulic barriers (the council have suggested) are installed?
    The car driver (such as a taxi or the aged persons family member) won’t have Old Joes badge with them….
    Joe will be in town with the blue badge and the driver will be at the barrier ‘sans badge’.

    Its completely stupid.

    Stupid Stupid Stupid.

    In the meantime – the councillors can pretend they care whislt making the ageds shopping trips quite difficult.

  3. I would make two comments. Firstly, that even getting a chance to try and improve things before the groundless, and for the sake of it, criticism starts would be a real help.
    And secondly, if we are to clarify, simplify and encourage an understanding and greater participation in local democracy and better local services don’t mix up the roles and responsibilities of different tiers of local government. I really want constructive comment and criticism because it makes for better services and outcomes for people… or it should. What is less useful is criticism for the sake of it from a position of ignorance because of lack of knowledge. I hope that three months in I am bringing a fresh approach and some new ideas to social services and care for adults in Staffordshire and believe me if it doesn’t improve over time I will join you as my own nuber one critic… and rightly so!

  4. Ok i was a bit hard on Cnty Cllr M Ellis – i do have a slice of constructive suggestion.

    So the problem is people don’t know who to call – and call the wrong place.
    The wrong place can’t help because they dont know where to send people – or perhaps don’t have the time or don’t give a damn.

    Issuing a useful numbers list to all relevant people would help – it could be in a simple flowchart format.
    Anyone who is willing to pass on the ‘access to care’ hotline number is likey to be willing to give them the correct number if they had it. (vis a vis unhelpful people wont pass on the ‘new’ hotline number anyway).

    This useful numbers list / flowchart could also be in poster format at supermarkets, occasionally in the newspaper, online and even mailed to those we know need assistance. (perhaps with thier winter fuel bonus notification etc)
    Most people answering these phones – getting wrong calls etc – have access to the net and generally email and a printer – the solution is looking cheaper all the time – its merely an issue of communication education and a slice of goodwill. (communication, education and goodwill – i should copyright that ! )

    Ok – its not perfect (telephone dependant) but its cheap and could be put into place within a few weeks if somebody could collate the information – and updates can cheaply and easily be distributed – A voluntary group would be capable of this.
    Of course not all (needy?) can use a phone but i expect they may be recieving some sort of occasional care and they would of course have the ‘magic’ flowchart.

    Its a step in the right direction anyway – and you’d have all the information for when the single point of contact centre/office gets off the ground.

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