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21st November 2013

Ombudsman calls for 'structural change' in delivery of health and social care

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Peter Tyndall, today (November 21) has said that the way in which health and social care outside hospital is delivered needs to be radically transformed.

Mr Tyndall said the system is too complex and argues that one body should oversee the delivery of both health and social care in the community.

He said the complexities of the system puts a strain on families and carers: "We need to be much better at delivering integrated packages of care than we are at the moment and that will need structural change," he said.

"Many more people are living in the community and receiving support - particularly older people.

"Often that support is coming from private or voluntary bodies; on the other hand, you have nursing care from the district nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists and so on.

"We need to look at that as a single joined-up entity instead of the fragmentation we currently have," he added.

Welsh Government's 'Intermediate Care Fund' to support 'collaborative working'

The Welsh Government responded to Mr Tyndall's comments saying: "A significant amount of work is taking place in this area as a result, including consultation over the summer on how we can meet the health and social care needs of older people with complex needs.

"Our draft budget for 2014-15 includes proposals to establish a £50m Intermediate Care Fund, which will support collaborative working between social services, health and housing.

"It will be used to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, or inappropriate admission to residential care, as well as preventing delayed discharges from hospital.

"The aim will be to support people to maintain their independence and remain in their own home, as well as ensuring beds are available for those people who really need them.

"The solution does not lie in structural change but in encouraging people and organisations to work collaboratively," the spokesperson added.

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