‘Prevention is always better than a cure’- WLGA and ADSS call for preventative services funding in Draft Budget

October 2018

 

Ahead of Welsh Government’s budget due to be published on Tuesday 2nd October 2018, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru (ADSSC) are urging the government to ensure appropriate funding to ensure the social care needs of vulnerable and older people are met.

A publication released jointly today by WLGA and ADSSC highlights the significant pressures being faced by adult social services across Wales as a result of continual cuts over 10 years of austerity. The statement shows that the number of people in need of adult social care is set to rise 56% by 2035, and that 75% of carers in Wales are worried about the impact of caring on their own health over the next year.

Councillor Huw David (Bridgend), WLGA Spokesperson for Health and Social Care said:

“This publication today highlights the essential work that social services and social care staff undertake for some of the most vulnerable adults in our society.  It is clear that the pressures and demands on them are increasing with 210 assessments for care and support being carried out every day. Our health and social care systems are under strain like never before, and it is everyday committed social care workers who are left to carry the heavy workload.

“At a meeting of council leaders last Friday, members gave a clear message: councils have done all they can to protect social care over a decade of cuts which has seen local government lose over £1bn in funding. But they simply cannot carry on handing down cuts to the very people who are in most need of support. Unless there is significant investment in social care, alongside any additional investment in health services, we will not see the benefit of improved services to those who need care and support and pressure will continue to grow on health services too.

We all know that prevention and early intervention with people will stave away more costly and complex interventions further down the line, and we are working towards creating a more preventative service.  However, we do not have the resource to make such a significant shift when the number of people who rely on these services keeps rising, coupled with the costs of delivering appropriate care; the only solution at this crucial time is more investment – particularly for preventative services.

“Let’s not forget that adult social care is also a contributor to the economy with £2.2bn contributed to the Welsh economy in 2016, including the impact on suppliers and the money spent by all employees[i].

“We support the Minister for Older People and Children, Huw Irranca-Davies when he recently said that ‘the way we are for each other can define us as a nation’. We have had many discussions with both the Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and I know they are both fully committed to securing the best health and social care services possible for Welsh citizens.  That commitment now needs to be reflected in urgent additional investment now while we also discuss how by working together, and be engaging with the public, we can develop a long-term sustainable solution to the funding of social care.” 

Jenny Williams, President for ADSS Cymru said,

“I welcome the publication of this position statement today highlighting the considerable financial pressures and demand for services for our most vulnerable in our communities. As we highlighted for children, in order to continue to deliver good quality and safe services we desperately need investment in a timely way.

“Despite this we can and will continue to develop a range of services that are efficient and transformational as we have demonstrated over recent years. However now is the time for a realistic settlement that reflects the real pressures across councils in Wales as illustrated in the statement.

“Social Care has such a positive contribution to make, however services are under considerable strain owing to insufficient funding. We will continue to work with the Welsh Local Government Association in the coming months at this crucial time to highlight the valuable contribution social care makes and the funding required to provide the necessary sustainability for the future.”

[i] https://socialcare.wales/cms_assets/file-uploads/The-Economic-Value-of-the-Adult-Social-Care-Sector_Wales.pdf