Welsh government aims to integrate health and social care services
25th July 2013
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Welsh government plans are looking towards integrating health and social care to provide a better overall health service to Welsh residents, according to health ministers of the Welsh government.
Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services, and Health Minister Mark Drakeford issued a joint statement that outlined proposals to coordinate health and social care in Wales, with plans to dedicate more resources and funding to community care.
An integrated health and social care system can help people live independently at home for longer; with the use of mobility aids and regular home visits from healthcare professionals, older people with long term conditions can enjoy life at home for longer, rather than being admitted to a care home or live with increased risk of hospitalisation.
The statement made by the Welsh government calls upon health boards and local authorities to work together in order to achieve the requirements set out by the government that are needed to successfully integrate the two systems. A set of outcomes was outlined in the statement, which began with specifically helping older people with complex needs. Some of the targets included ensuring that carers and individuals have more say in the care they are receiving or providing, and putting in place a system where all the health information about a person can be safely and securely shared.
Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services, outlined the benefits they expect the integration to have, which included the reduced variability of outcomes for older people and a greater amount of care being delivered in the home environment. Response to the news has be positive; Phil Evans, President of the Association of Directors of Social Services, welcomed the statement made by the Welsh government and has said that he believes this integration will allow older people to get "a quicker and more co-ordinated response", whilst Helen Birtwhistle, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, has said that an integrated health and social care system will make older people "feel fully supported" and is a major factor that could help them "live as full a life as possible".
Care at home with the help of mobility aids such as stairlifts can help more people stay out of hospital and remain independent, benefiting both the lives of elderly people and the NHS purse, and these plans to integrate the health and social care systems in Wales are sure to benefit older people within Welsh communities.
Image Credit: National Assembly for Wales / Cynulliad Cymru (flickr.com)