My report to the Council.
Posted By: Dale Mulgrew
Date Posted: 13/02/2008
Thank you Mr Mayor for the opportunity to report to the Council the latest developments on various matters relating to the Health and Social Care Portfolio.
Learning Disability Service:
Two significant developments have occurred for this service over the course of the last few months since the last convening of The Council.
Firstly, a three year commissioning plan has been ratified by the Learning Disabilities Service Partnership Board, with an agreement formed between the Council and its partner – the PCT. This plan sets out the mission of the service and the opportunities and challenges that it will face over the forthcoming three years. It also contains a number of key objectives and the plan places an emphasis on very tight fiscal control of the pooled budget, which in Rochdale is no different then the national position associated with pooled budgets across other local authorities. The plan sets out a framework for continual service performance monitoring.
Secondly, a review of the arrangements for learning disabilities partnership board meetings has been completed and several key recommendations were presented in a report that was endorsed at the January board meeting. This will transform the way we engage, connect and communicate with out learning disability constituency. It is hoped we will have a greater participation at partnership board meetings and that this will really stimulate conversation so that we know what our service users want. Moreover, this will lay a template for a greater professional outlook for the partnership board.
Can I thank the opposition spokespersons for their attendance at partnership board meetings over the last six months and it has often not been the case that lead members have attended these meetings. This has been noticed by several attendees at these meetings and the presence shows at commitment that is highly valued, especially in the context of this special partnership arrangement.
Services to Older People:
The CSCI inspection that was conducted last summer and reported to the November Cabinet was very disappointing. It judged that although the service had promising prospects, it was only serving some of our people well. The net result was a downgrading of the service rating to a one star.
We have listened to the findings and have responded quickly and with great rigour, and the creation of an action plan to remedy certain concerns was approved and described as ‘purposeful’ by the lead inspector. This action and improvement plan continues to be monitored and presaged regularly at special scrutiny meetings.
There is also a specific hospital discharge plan to address especially raised anxieties the inspector flagged up in respect of standards of discharge procedures and partnership working with the hospital trust. I can report that our work on this significant area of concern has resulted in the Pennine Acute Hospital Trust now committing to a joint review with us of hospital discharge policy and procedures.
On a very positive note a survey released before Christmas by the North West association of directors of adult care clearly displayed that Rochdale continues to be one of the most caring local authorities in the region. The survey provided an indication on the position of Councils in relation to their policy on ‘Fair access to care services.’ The trend continues for local authorities to raise their threshold of eligibility, and the prime example recently was Trafford Council, who took the decision to move to only supporting people in the top two categories of ‘substantial’ and ‘critical’, and remove the 3rd category of ‘moderate’. Rochdale continues to support the majority of referrals with moderate needs, as well as in the top two categories, and this categorically demonstrates we are very much a supporting and caring Council for our vulnerable people.
I am pleased to affirm that we have a budget proposal for additional investment in day care for older people with mental health illnesses. This will increase the provision for this under resourced service area and the extra spend will enable two existing facilities at Springhill and Saxonside to be staffed. In devising this proposal I would like to acknowledge the discussions I have had with Age Concern and the MERIT team north.
The Modernisation Programme:
I can report to Council on three of the projects of the Modernisation Programme.
Home Support Changes: The Cabinet in November re-committed to creating the innovative concept of a ‘Re-ablement’ service. This was quickly followed by a fact finding mission which saw all three lead spokespersons travelling to visit Leicestershire County Council, who have successfully pioneered a Re-ablement’ scheme since 1999. We will see shortly the beginning of a pilot in Rochdale of this scheme and I expect, in due course, a progress report to be presented to the policy overview and scrutiny committee once this pilot has commenced.
Continuing Health Care: The change in government legislation and the shift in responsibility of funding for individuals who have an ongoing substantive health care need over a social care need is already accruing a financial success for the Council. Nonetheless we still need to strengthen our joint working with the PCT to see the full effects of this re-structuring of financing take shape.
Contract Management: A project to discover a suitable product for e-monitoring to match the criteria of our objectives in Rochdale has now been initiated and a manager appointed to lead on this task. This is wedded to the development of more robust and beefed up contracts for the homecare service to deliver on performance, to improve on quality assurance and to meet the expectations of service users.
Council Health Strategy:
The Council continues to work on its first comprehensive health strategy. This will set out our contribution to improving health and tackling health inequalities in the borough, and how we will help to meet the borough-wide targets on health in Pride of Place and the Local Area Agreement. The Council already does a great deal to support health improvement, but this new strategy will set it all out clearly in one document for the first time. We will be reviewing what we already do, and identifying any gaps or areas where we could do more.
Also, the PCT has appointed a new head of partnerships called Rachel Snow-Miller, and part of her remit is to re-ignite the health thematic partnership of the local strategic partnership.
High Profile Health Conference:
I finish by making members aware that the Council is organising a high profile, one day health conference in collaboration with the PCT. The date is Wednesday 5th March and the event will be hosted at the Odeon Cinema in Rochdale. There have been invitations sent for a ministerial presence and I would encourage members to note this date, so we can have a terrific expression of support for the virtues of this event. As it is a day long conference with a programme of different activities and information seminars, members should be able to find that they can support the conference for as long or as short as their commitments allow.
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