Oxfordshire bucks trend of increasing social care waiting lists


The county council has called on the government to “properly fund the system”

Across the country six hundred people a day are joining growing waiting lists to be assessed for care and support, but Oxfordshire is bucking the trend when it comes to waiting times for assessments, care and reviews.

In England 542,002 people were awaiting assessment, review or the start of a service or direct payment – that’s up 37% on an equivalent count in November last year.   The statistics have been released today by the Association for Directors of Adult Social Care (ADASS).

Here in Oxfordshire there has been a 40% decrease in the numbers, with people also having to wait less time overall to be seen.

A transformation of how care is delivered, called “The Oxfordshire Way’” is named as the reason why the county council and its partner organisations are achieving far better results, with a linked improvement in outcomes for people in receipt of care.

However, the county council has taken today’s statistics as an opportunity to point out that such innovations can only remain sustainable if adult social care is, as they say, “properly funded nationally by central government”.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “I am delighted that we’ve been able to buck the national trend and almost halved Oxfordshire’s waiting list but there is no room for complacency – we still have on average 1,000 people in the county needing a response from this council. That’s not good enough.

“At the same time, we are being chronically underfunded. Unless local government is properly resourced, we will face the prospect of rewarding our incredible partners with further cuts. Government must recognise there is a crisis in adult social care and properly fund it.

“Over a period of time, our adult social care teams have worked incredibly hard to fundamentally transform how care is delivered in the county. Our service users have increasingly been able to live healthier lifestyles in their own communities supported by resilient support networks rather than having to rely on the very traditional ways of delivering care.

“Harnessing the power of our local communities has allowed our social care experts and partners to completely reimagine how they work together to deliver better outcomes for people who need support – whether that’s older people or people with learning, physical or other disabilities.

“Together with voluntary community sector partners, the county council has jointly created the Oxfordshire Way, which has brought those responsible for providing care together with a united, co-produced shared vision and approach to supporting the people of Oxfordshire to live well in their community, remaining fit and healthy for as long as possible.”

He added: “Demand is increasing all the time for very important adult social care services both locally and nationally. Increased need within the population – with ever more people needing support – is not recognised or acknowledged by government to its true and full extent in terms of the impact on council budgets. The majority of the money identified to support the reform of adult social care doesn’t address increased demand or complexity. It is aimed at supporting the care cap for self-funders.

“We are really proud that we have been able to transform the way we deliver adult social care in Oxfordshire in such a positive way. Now we, and our fellow councils, urgently need assurances from central government that it recognises and will address the well-known funding issues facing the sector. We want to build on our high-quality work in Oxfordshire – not to see it dissipate as a result of being let down by the government.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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