Having supported Wirral Council in the introduction of the Ethical Care Charter – an agreement on reforming care for the better – I recently called in on Wirral’s Director of Adult Social Services to see how the changes are going.

The Ethical Care Charter sets out recommended standards of care for vulnerable people living in their own home, which will not only make life better for those being cared for but also seeks to end the all-too-frequent exploitation of those who are employed to provide care. Wirral is one of the first councils in the country to adopt the charter.

I was also invited to visit the council’s Independent Review Team based in New Ferry and the Wirral South Locality Team based in Eastham. At both locations I met hard working staff who are committed to ensuring those receiving care get the best possible service. Their dedication and expertise has been a credit to our borough.

There have been significant changes, including using fewer contracted care providers to improve standards with those the council does work with.

And also, we no longer ask people to put up with 15 minute calls. After all, it’s hard to see how good care can be given in just a quarter of an hour.

In signing up to the Ethical Care Charter principles, Wirral have demonstrated how a vision for better health care can be achieved.

An integrated health and social care system has the potential, through better support in the community, to meet the challenges of an ageing population and the requirements of increasing number of people with long-term conditions by preventing people’s needs escalating.

It also has the potential to save spending millions of pounds keeping people where they don’t want to be, in more expensive hospital and residential care, instead of living healthy independent lives in their own homes.

Put into action correctly an integrated system has the potential to be not only self-financing but will provide the opportunity to deliver health and care services that start from the point of meeting the needs of patients and their families rather than what is most convenient for the service provider.

By Alison McGovern MP for Wirral News

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