Overhaul planned for care services in South Tyneside after pandemic

Council bosses have agreed to launch a consultation to help shape the future of adult social care services in South Tyneside.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 4:24 pm
A consultation has launched over the future of adult social care in South Tyneside

At a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet, a report was presented on the local authority’s draft five-year vision and strategy for social care services.

Entitled ‘Living Better Lives,’ the plans aim to help people remain safe and well in their neighbourhoods alongside promoting the importance of social justice and inclusion, citizenship and participation.

The strategy will focus on the principles of people, place and partnerships with a total of eight priorities ranging from promoting health and wellbeing and supporting people to remain in control of their care, to the council having a sustainable and skilled workforce and developing a “place-based system” of care and support.

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Councillor Anne Hetherington, cabinet member for independence and wellbeing, said public feedback would be important in shaping the strategy which aims to benefit all borough residents.

“This revised strategy builds upon what we have already achieved in South Tyneside but will also enable us to respond to the new challenges that lie ahead,” she said.

“Covid-19 has proven to be the biggest challenge the health and care system has faced in living memory, however it also highlighted real issues of strength and areas of learning and improvement which will be used to shape our thinking and priorities moving forward.”

Cllr Hetherington added: “Refreshing our adult social care strategy and approach providing care and support presents opportunities to ensure financial support for people with both additional needs and at a preventative level, can continue to be met in ways to enable people to retain their independence and remain at home for as long as possible.

“A responsive, supportive and compassionate social care system ultimately can lead to a better society that is about living a life with meaning.”

The council has a legal duty under the Care Act 2014 to ensure support which promotes independence, improves wellbeing and reduces the need for care and support, moving away from dependency on traditional care provision.

According to a report prepared for councillors, adult social care accounts for 38% of South Tyneside Council’s net budget and will continue to play a “significant role” in supporting the council to meet financial challenges going forward.

Following cabinet approval on August 11, a seven-week consultation on the draft adult social care strategy and vision is expected to take place between Monday, September 13 and Friday, October 29.

Together with partners, the council will look to co-produce a final version of the document which will be presented to cabinet and council in January 2022.

Consultation will also include presentations at the council’s Community Area Forums and discussions with a range of people and families receiving support and system partners.

Councillor Jim Foreman, cabinet member for housing and transport, asked for reassurance that the council and health partners would work towards the same objectives with regards to the adult social care agenda.

He said: “One of the big things that we did find during the Covid episode was that we rose to any challenge that was given to us.

“As a council I would hate to think that because Covid is nearing its end, I would hate to think that we’re going to slip back into an idea where there are [separate strategies].

“I would love to think that all these public money partners are going to be singing from the same hymn sheet and having that same ideal that we had during the Covid crisis.”

Cllr Hetherington, responding, confirmed a joint group would help to develop the strategy, which includes partners from the NHS, Clinical Commissioning Group and also the voluntary sector.

She went on to say: “It is our intention to move forward with a co-produced strategy but the consultation is to go out and speak to people in the community as well […] to ensure that what we produce finally is a document that sits well with South Tyneside and meets the needs of our residents.”

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