I know so many of us have faced tough challenges and difficult decisions when it comes to the care of our friends and loved ones. In my role as the Forest’s MP, I have regularly taken the time to engage with our local care sector and seek to understand the experiences of my constituents in this area.
Over the summer, I had the pleasure of visiting Flexicare. Based in Maisemore, Flexicare has over 40 years of experience providing specialist care packages for people with learning disabilities, elderly people, physically disabled people and sensory-impaired adults.
I was shown around the business by founder Jeanette Phillips, who explained to me that their business model is based on valuing their staff and investing in them to be the best carers they can be. This model is evidently producing results as Flexicare has been rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.
Flexicare keeps care local and operates a hub model that ensures carers are not travelling great distances to meet with service users. I was greatly impressed by the work they do and the clear commitment they have to the people they look after.
The Government’s Adult Social Care Reform White Paper, published in 2021, seeks to tackle the current challenges facing social care providers, such as Flexicare, and sets out a ten-year vision for care that puts people and families at its heart. Its core principles are to ensure that everyone has choice, control and support to live independent lives; that everyone can access outstanding personalised care and support and that social care is fair and accessible for everyone. The White Paper is part of wider social care plans, backed by £5.4 billion, which for the first time provides a limit to the cost of care for everyone in the adult social care system, and significantly increases state support.
A core part of the Government’s plan is supporting the discharge of patients healthy enough to leave hospital into more suitable social care settings, thus freeing up beds for patients in urgent need of them. I know that this has been a particular concern for several of my constituents, who have seen their loved ones stay for periods longer than necessary in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
These are all important steps on the journey to reforming social care in this country and giving more people the dignified care that we all want for our loved ones. I can assure you that I will be engaged in all discussions about these reforms on behalf of Forest residents moving forward.
This column was first published in The Forester newspaper.