Historic day for social care support in Wales

18 March 2014

Mary van den Heuvelby Mary van den Heuvel

Today is a very important day for social care in Wales.

It is expected that today the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill will be looked at by assembly members for the final time. This means it will go to a final vote — prior to being considered for royal assent, or approval by the Queen, before becoming law. The bill aims to put the need to maintain an individual’s well-being at the centre of their needs assessment and could transform the way social care is delivered in Wales.

There are still some important topics up for debate today. The appeals process — whether you have the right to challenge the decisions about your care package — will be discussed. Dignified care at home will also be examined. The bill could specify that care at home visits are ‘of sufficient length’ to meet the person’s needs. This could have the potential to put an end to short care visits, where there is insufficient support to help people with critical tasks such as getting washed and dressed in 15 minutes.   

We welcome the focus the bill places on people — recognising the role of carers and also ensuring that an individual’s well-being is central to consideration of their needs for care or support from a local authority.

However, the devil will be in the detail. Whether people will receive dignified care, or can actually access the support that they need, will depend on the regulations and guidance that will follow the bill. If not done well this could mean the difference between people having the help they need to live independently or not.

Help us continue to put pressure on the government to provide better care for disabled people by joining our campaigns network.

Mary van den Heuvel is a policy and assembly officer for Leonard Cheshire Disability and the chair of the Social Care and Well-being Alliance Wales. She tweets at @Mary_vDH.

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