Debate on residential care
The Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee has welcomed the Welsh government's decision to accept all of the recommendations it made in a report on residential care for older people.
During a debate on social care on 20 February 2013, Mark Drakeford said his committee would be monitoring progress on the implementation of the recommendations some of which were accepted in full by ministers while they accepted others in principle.
Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, said the Welsh government was already taking action on it.
The committee undertook a review during 2012 in order to ascertain the level of care that older people currently receive in Wales, and how the delivery of that care is likely to change in the future.
Members of the committee found that an increasing number of older people choose to receive care at home.
Wales' population is expected to increase in the future; 18.6% of the population was over 65 years old in 2010 but that figure is likely to rise to around 26% by 2035.
According to the committee, as the population ages we can expect an increase in illnesses associated with old age, such as dementia.
Conservative health spokesperson Darren Millar, who sits on the committee said the recommendations, if implemented would make a "real difference" to care in Wales.
He added that while the report went some way to dealing with some of the problems in residential care, he still had some concerns particularly over better advocacy and more re-ablement support when deciding where patients should go after hospital treatment.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, Kirsty Williams, said re-ablement saves money in the long-term and should be available for everyone.
She also urged the Welsh government to outline plans for payment for care after ministers in London announced the introduction of a cap on payments in England.
Plaid Cymru Older People spokesperson Lindsay Whittle said: "The findings of this report are to be welcomed and if implemented fully they will lead to extremely positive changes in the provision of residential care.
"Plaid Cymru has recognised the need for strengthening regulations in care homes, to ensure high quality of care, and to enable patients and their families to access the information that they need."
Mr Drakeford questioned why the Welsh government had accepted the recommendation of a fit and proper person test for those wanting to run care homes in principle rather than in full.
Mrs Thomas said there was already a fit and proper person test but accepted that it could be strengthened.
She added that the Older People's Commissioner was working with the Welsh government to improve care, including working on better advocacy.