Lib Dems will make Somerset more caring so we look after our most vulnerable residents
The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of our community members who need more support. More people will want to be cared for in their own homes.
Our approach will be to offer help earlier to allow people to live thriving, independent lives and prevent residents needing more support later on - becoming reliant on longer-term (often more costly) services.
The major stakeholders in Health and Social Care are going through another massive change as they set up an Integrated Care System, Local Government Reorganisation and the merger of Somerset Foundation Trust and the Yeovil District Hospital Trust.
Adult Social Care accounts for over 40% of Somerset County Council spending and demand is growing. Controlling these costs will be key to making the new Council effective.
a Ensure that access to services is founded on clear, anti-discriminatory values and practices.
b Put effective social work at the heart of our approach, offering people in need and their carers timely assessments and regular reviews.
c Caring for our carers is at the heart of our approach. Of Somerset’s 58,000 carers, just 72 have a formal Care Assessment. All carers are entitled to an assessment of their needs under the Care Act. We will work with the NHS and voluntary sector to guarantee an assessment for carers’ support, including the offer of short breaks and other options, so we can support people in their own homes, and unpaid carers can take a break.
d Expand Shared Lives, a scheme to support adults who struggle to live on their own and who are matched with carers who share their home, family and community life. Consider offering short-break options and step-down resources for people waiting to be discharged from hospital.
e Ensure ‘Changing Places’ toilets are provided in the major towns and visitor destinations and improve accessibility by encouraging wheelchair availability for beaches, landscape and heritage destinations, building on our success in the Mendip district.
f Collaborate with colleagues in the NHS to improve access to mental health services, delivering community-based support where possible.
g Acknowledge that Somerset has the third highest number of suicides nationally. With men four times more likely to take their own lives than women, we will develop a strategy targetting male mental health - as well as that of young people.
h Work with our partners in the health service and voluntary sector to minimise the impact of addiction on families and vulnerable people.
i Collaborate with our partners in the voluntary sector and the police to combat domestic violence, coercive control, financial, emotional and other abuse.
j Build on the excellent record of our District Councils to work with individuals and families to avoid them becoming homeless, with the ambition to end homelessness by 2027.
k Acknowledge the changes in demand for gypsy and traveller sites across the county. Work to find the most appropriate land for temporary, transit and permanent sites.
l Play a significant role in responding to the consequences of international emergencies, providing support to refugees who need Somerset to be their new home.
m Ensure that our quality control teams capture and propagate evidence and examples of best practice, alongside reviews of things that are not working well.
n Work in a joined-up way (Adult Social Care and housing, for example) and with other organisations to ensure the best possible results for vulnerable people and their carers.
o Work with developers and social housing providers to ensure that there is a sufficiency of housing suitable for carers and those with care needs. Somerset homes need to meet the needs of all stages of life.
p Make sure the contracted care agencies pay at least the National Living Wage and work together with them to improve the status of care professionals in our communities.
q Encourage collaboration and support coordination between home care providers to complement each other’s community support offers.
r Support the continued growth of a mixed economy of care providers, including expansion of the micro-provider market. We will facilitate collaboration between micro-providers to provide mutual support, for example with training and sickness cover, to make the system more sustainable.
s Work with specialist providers to explore ways of using IT assisted technology to deliver home care, and promote independence and well being.
t Undertake an early review of contract arrangements for day, residential and home care services for adults with Learning Disabilities to ensure that everyone is kept safe and well and receives high quality care and support.
u Recognise the crucial role of our public health team working closely with the new NHS Trust, integrated care body, primary health care, emergency services and the voluntary and charity sector to improve the well-being and health of all our residents.
v Create and implement an annual, measurable action plan to address health and wellbeing inequalities in our disadvantaged communities.