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.
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.”