Plan to end to social care post code lottery in Wales welcolmed

AN independent report has recommended an end to the postcode lottery delivery of social care in Wales.

The rules for deciding which social services people are eligible for should be the same across Wales, a report to ministers has said.

It found “striking variation” in what service users can expect in different parts of the country.

One of the critics of the current system, with 29 eligibility criteria spread across the 22 local authorities was the Care Forum Wales. The report said national eligibility criteria for care should be introduced as part of recommendations for reforming the way social services are delivered.

The independent commission on social services said more personalised services could be better for the recipients and more efficient.

Services should be tailored to meet people’s individual needs, it said, with users getting the advice necessary to make informed decisions on their care.

The report, From Vision to Action, said local councils should retain their responsibility for social services.

To avoid an expensive and disruptive shake-up, services should be organised within the seven local health board areas that run the NHS, it said.

Total public investment in social services and social care is currently around £1.4bn a year.

Wales would be the first country in the UK to provide such an assessment scheme if it was adopted. The report comes as the Assembly Government considers how services can cater to an ageing population at a time of financial pressure.

Deputy social services minister Gwenda Thomas , Prof Geoffrey Pearson said: “I am particularly pleased that the commission confirms the case for social services as an integrated service located in, and led by, local government.