Minister invites debate on how to pay for care in Wales

Deputy Health and Social Services Minister Gwenda Thomas has outlined the approach the Assembly Government will take on a range of issues related to Carers.

In a wide-ranging speech made at the Cardiff Law School Conference on November 14th the Minister set out her strategy on issues including carers and the personalisation agenda; Direct Payments; the Department of Work and Pension’s proposals for welfare reform and the Assembly’s consultation on paying for care in Wales.

During a detailed speech the Minister:

·         Expressed reservations about following a policy intention in England “of rolling out an individual or personal budget approach across the whole of social services within the next three years”;

·         Announced that during 2009 the Assembly Government will be consulting on how to extend direct payment provisions;

·         Acknowledged and promised to act on concerns that the Department of Work and Pensions’ consultation on welfare reform “appears to be based on the English budgets policy approach”;

·         Stated that detailed proposals on how to reform the current arrangements for paying for care will be considered in an Assembly Green Paper to be published next spring.

With regard to paying for care the Minister said: “At this stage I want to see a debate about the aims, principles and values we need to establish and I have launched a consultation paper which sets out some of the key issues.

She stressed that: “This is a vital opportunity to engage in debate about issues that will affect nearly every family in Wales at some time.”

As part of the debate national conferences will be held in North and South Wales. Materials will be provided for local authorities, voluntary organisations and existing networks and forums to directly participate in the debate themselves.

An interactive website entitled Paying for Care has also been set up. It can be viewed by visiting: