Swindon Borough Council’s social care team has been highly commended for its work in caring for people who are frail in old age.
The HSJ Value Awards, which recognise outstanding efficiency and improvement in care services, were held in Manchester last week and the Council’s programme for helping the elderly was praised by experts.
Such success is especially notable given the huge increase in demand for social care services combined with ever-dwindling funds from central government.
This year, around 80 per cent of the Council’s budget will be spent on adults’ and children’s social care, while the Revenue Support Grant, a vital stream of funding from central government, is to be cut by almost £5m.
But the Council’s Reablement and Fessey House programme, which works in partnership with the Great Western Hospital, has transformed the way the authority cares for older people in Swindon.
It focuses on providing personal care for elderly or frail people in their own homes while they recover from illness or injury.
Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, was thrilled with the efforts of his hard-working colleagues.
He said, “This is a wonderful result and I offer my full congratulations to everybody involved.
“Delivering high standards of social care is one of our biggest challenges here in Swindon, but our staff have proved that they are doing a brilliant job in helping some of our most vulnerable people and I have every faith that they will continue to do so.”
The social care team wanted to reshape reablement services by avoiding residential and nursing placements when it is not in a patient’s best interests, reducing delayed discharges with a home-first approach, empowering staff and delivering a substantial financial benefit.
The team found that in 45 per cent of cases where someone was discharged to residential care, they would have achieved a better outcome had they returned home instead.
And thanks to the hard work of frontline staff, the Council has managed to increase the number of people benefiting from the service from 300 to 485, which works out at 163 per cent, saving more than £1.9m for the health and social care economy.