Today the Welsh Parliamentary inquiry published its inquiry into hospital discharge and its impact on patient flow through hospitals. The report highlights several challenges facing the health and social care sector and recognises the current crisis facing the social care workforce. Importantly, it identifies the need to take radical steps to make reforms to our health and social care system, including the reward and recognition that our invaluable social care staff receive.
Local authorities are calling on Welsh Government to address the significant challenges being experienced in social care, with a specific need to ensure that social care workers are treated with parity of esteem with the NHS.
Responding to the Report Chris Llewelyn, WLGA Chief Executive said:
“Today’s report highlights the unprecedented pressures the health and social care system has faced during the pandemic, as well as many of the issues that existed before. It provides further evidence of some of the significant challenges facing social care in its own right and the need to find solutions to how we pay for social care in the longer term.
“Local government has long been calling for the need to value and invest in the social care workforce. The report highlights that staff are leaving social care to work in the NHS. We believe until there is true parity in pay and terms and conditions for social care staff with their NHS counterparts, the sector will continue to struggle to recruit and retain staff. There remains a need to ensure that the workforce is appropriately rewarded for the invaluable work that they do. This includes a need to provide a pathway to career progression within a professionalised care sector.
“The report also points to the impact that a lack of investment in our vital social care services has had. It shows how this impacts across our whole health and social care system and individual’s flow through hospitals. While the report focusses on hospital discharge and the steps that can be taken to better facilitate discharge, local government firmly believes that if we are to truly take action then the focus of our approach must be to increase investment in early intervention and preventative services in the community, working with primary care, to focus more on preventing admissions into hospital in the first place.
“Local government remains committed to addressing the challenges presented in today’s report and continue to work closely with the Welsh Government, Health Boards and all partners towards improving the health and social care system. But the priority has to be to take steps to resolve the on-going workforce challenges, ensuring there is sufficient finance to provide a sustainable social care system.”