Wales needs to take a radical approach to health and social care integration. Local government must be at the heart of this.
Our councils hold many levers for improving community well-being. To wield them effectively we must break down barriers and invest new monies in local government preventative services.
Now is the time to invest. Rapid demographic change, rising demand and significantly reduced budgets are all placing our health and social care services under significant pressure.
Progress is being made. The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act outlines a vision of early intervention, investment in preventative services and the integration of health and social care.
The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act places service quality and improvement at the heart of the regulatory regime, and strengthens protection for those who need it.
Local councils are at the centre of delivering this vision. No other sector is better placed to deliver Wales’ social care or public health services.
As our ‘Localism 2016’ manifesto outlines, we believe councils must be given the freedom to shape their care services based on the needs of their own locality and expand their areas of responsibility.
We want to see a preventative Integrated Care Fund, which builds on the Intermediate Care Fund, to speed up service integration so that communities benefit from a more coordinated approach to health and social care.
We must be radical in our focus. From community care to leisure centres, local council services improve well-being while actively reducing pressure in other areas like the NHS. They urgently need investment.
Working through bodies like the National Partnership Board, we aim to reform Wales’ care services and make them sustainable for the future.
For more information contact: Stewart Blythe