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11th May 2015

Changes to way care is assessed should help stop 'cliff-edge decisions', says Welsh health minister

Major changes to the way people’s needs are assessed to decide if they need a package of care and support in Wales have been unveiled by Health and Social Services Minister, Mark Drakeford today (May 11).
Under the changes to the eligibility criteria for social care the rules will be simplified so that people receive 'the right care in the right place' and will, it is hoped, remove the current 'cliff-edge decisions' where people receive care and support services only when their needs are at or near crisis point. 

The current approach to eligibility and assessment is sometimes inconsistent and the new model is designed to bring these processes under one framework while recognising the different needs of children and adults. The aim is to provide a more individualised approach that will require local authorities to put in place an appropriate response for individuals - and wherever possible the emphasis should be on preventive care.
The new arrangements will focus on local authorities working with people and their carers and families to identify strengths, capacity and capability to maximise an individual’s wellbeing and independence.  This approach will ensure that people can stay in control of decisions made about their care and support.

The new approach will reduce the number of people who require a care and support plan by introducing opportunities to help people retain independence, and access early intervention and prevention services, without the need for a formal plan. Intervening in the right way, at the right time will mean that many people can be supported in their own communities outside the formal social care system, and families can be supported to stay together.

Care reforms to take effect by April 2016

The changes are being introduced as part of the most wide-ranging reforms to social care law in Wales in 60 years, when the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 comes into force in April 2016.
Welsh Government health minister, Mark Drakeford, said: "The new Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act does not just change a few rules here and there. The changes being outlined today will ensure people have much stronger control over the care and support they need to live their lives. This is not simply a case of adjusting what we do now.
"It replaces and rewrites the legislative basis for care and support in Wales.  It represents a new social care landscape in Wales. It is a wide-ranging reform of which Wales should be proud.
"At its core is an approach that focusses on people, in a way which strengthens their voice and gives them more control over their lives.  It focuses on people’s abilities as well as needs – acknowledging that people themselves want to stay in control of what happens to them.
"The proposed changes are crucial to enable current and future generations to live their lives as fully as possible, providing the correct level of support to promote their wellbeing and to help sustain them in their families, networks and communities."

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