This week’s columnist is Coun Patricia Bradwell, deputy leader of Lincolnshire County Council.....
The past few weeks have seen the issue of home care prominent in both the national and local press.
Some of the things that have been said might have caused alarm for residents and I thought I’d take this opportunity to put the record straight and reassure the many people out there who have care packages.
We have 60,000 home care visits a week. The quality of service provided has been looked at by the Care Quality Commission who has assessed us as one of the best in the region.
The service provided to us externally is very efficient. Homecare providers, the CQC and the council work responsibly to ensure that those people requiring this type of support receive it in a way that supports their personal care needs.
Over Christmas staff worked seven days a week to work with hospitals to ensure people had home care services when they were discharged from hospital.
Funding in this area increases year on year and the council is proposing to put more money into domiciliary care in recognition that there are pressures and we want to improve the quality of service.
We are paying travelling expenses for care workers in most rural areas and the new contract approach we are pursuing later in the year will strengthen this even further.
Home care agencies have responsibilities to ensure that workers are adequately trained and checks around people’s appropriateness for this sort of work are in place.
The CQC ensure that these checks are undertaken as a part of Homecare providers’ registration requirements. Homecare providers also have legal requirements which they work within, one of these being that they pay the minimum wage.
There are approximately 78 Homecare providers in Lincolnshire that the county council purchase from.
As a part of a re-procurement exercise, we are looking to change this for the better.
Of course, I acknowledge that things aren’t always perfect and we need to work better with health to create a more integrated, reactive system for people so that their needs are met and good quality care is maintained.
I can assure residents that home care is in good hands and with support and monitoring from the Care Quality Commission, on the whole providers are giving the support that is needed.
Like anything, there is always room for improvement and we are working with our partners to ensure that we bridge any gaps and provide people with the care they deserve.