Homecare Association response to Senedd on Health and Social Care Bill

The Homecare Association have responded to the Senedd Health and Social Care Committee's call for evidence on the Health and Social Care Bill. The Bill contains provisions to eliminate profit from care of looked-after children, extend access to Direct Payments to those in receipt of Continuing Healthcare from the NHS and changes some provisions in the regulatory legislation (including a requirment for providers to publish annual reports). 

Profiteering, the practice of making or seeking to make an excessive or unfair profit, especially illegally or in a black market, is condemnable. However, if the Welsh government were to expand the 'eliminate' agenda, it would cause concerns in other parts of the social care sector. Aggressive profiteering is not comparable to a small business running a necessary operational surplus. Fear that work will be unavailable for private sector businesses will restrict investment and may see businesses close. Working and operating conditions are not necessarily better in the not-for-profit sector. The social care sector needs investment from somewhere in order to maintain services (if not shareholders, then elsewhere).

We agree Direct Payments can be a valuable option for people receiving Continuing Health Care (CHC). Direct payments are only truly effective where there is a thriving market for care provision that provides choice. Currently, homecare services are under-funded and are thus having difficulty retaining staff. Public bodies usually buy homecare services on a 'time and task' basis, limiting providers’ flexibility to meet people's needs. The Government must address this if we are truly to promote voice and control.

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