Belfast Telegraph

Poots publishes report on Who Cares consultation

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Health Minister Edwin Poots today published a report summarising the findings of the recent consultation on ‘Who Cares? The Future of Adult Care and Support in Northern Ireland’.

This was the first stage of a three stage process to reform adult care and support.

Mr Poots said: “The consultation was an important first step in the process to reform adult care and support. A large number of people in Northern Ireland responded to the consultation, and their views will be the key in considering how best we move forward to the next stage of reform – developing proposals for change.

“The consultation report illustrates strong support for my Department’s vision for the future of care and support. But it also shows that many people find the current arrangements for paying for long term care unfair, particularly the fact that people sometimes have to sell their family homes. It is certainly something that we need to look at very closely as we move into stage 2.”

The consultation on Who Cares?, which ran from September 2012 to March 2013, was designed to raise awareness of how challenges such as an ageing population, increasing expectations of users and a difficult financial climate will impact on the care and support system, and make the case that change was needed.

Some of the issues raised by respondents included the need to focus more on preventative services, the need to promote independence, as well as concerns over the current arrangements for paying for residential and nursing home care.

The DHSSPS will now commence work on the second stage of the reform process, which will involve developing and costing proposals for change, including changes to how care and support is funded, and how people contribute. The Who Cares? consultation report, as well as further information on the reform process, can be found on the Department’s website

The Minister concluded: “I would like to thank all those individuals and organisations who got involved in the Who Cares? consultation, whether by working with my Department to organise events, or by attending those events or responding in writing – your comments, views and suggestions are a valuable contribution to helping my Department set the future direction and funding of care and support services in NI.”

Notes to editors:

1. The DHSSPS is currently taking forward a three-stage process of reform to establish the future direction and funding of care and support in Northern Ireland. This three-stage process involves:

i. A discussion document, aimed at prompting the public debate on the future of adult care and support;
ii. A Proposals Paper to set out a range of potential options for change and seeking the views of the public on which options should be taken forward; and
iii. A Final Strategic Document setting out the agreed future direction and funding of adult social care along with the reforms required.

2. The first stage in the process was a six month public consultation on Who Cares? The Future of Adult Care and Support in NI, which came to a close on 15 March 2013.

3. This first stage was intended to give people the opportunity to influence the reform agenda from the very beginning; therefore the discussion document did not contain policy proposals. It focused on raising awareness of how the current system of care and support works, issues relating to the future of care and support, and building consensus on the need to change the system. Issues covered included the challenges of an ageing population, increasing public expectations, and a very difficult economic climate.

4. Thirty-four consultation events were organised to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get involved in the consultation and share their views. In total, 185 written responses were received, and over 600 people attended consultation events, including older people, people with disabilities and mental ill health, parents and carers.

5. The DHSSPS is now giving consideration as to how best to proceed with stage 2. Once proposals have been developed, these will also be subject to full public consultation.

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