Social care: Services in Wales to get £48m for Covid recovery

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Local government representatives say it is crucial to find a long-term solution to social care

Almost £50m of funding to help social care services recover from Covid-19 has been announced by the Welsh government.

Julie Morgan, deputy minister for social services, said it would help with the "immediate crisis" faced by the sector.

However, sector representatives said there was an urgent need for a "long-term solution" to growing pressures.

Ms Morgan said the Welsh government was looking at options for the future of social care.

It comes as the Welsh NHS Confederation warned more than 1,000 patients were waiting to be discharged from hospital but were unable to go home due to a lack of available care.

Last week the UK government announced an increase to National Insurance as part of social care reform plans in England, saying Wales would get an extra £700m a year by 2024-2025 as a result.

'My father's life was at risk for six weeks'

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Peter Hallihan's daughter says her father's life was put at risk due to being kept in hospital

The daughter of an 80-year-old former minister said her father's life was put at risk after he was unable to leave hospital due to delays to setting up his social care.

Peter Hallihan was admitted to hospital in July with a severe urine infection.

Esther Wilcox said she feared her father would get Covid as they waited for a care package to be put together to allow him to leave and go into a care home.

Her father was eventually discharged on 10 September, six weeks after she said she had had a meeting with social services requesting help.

"My father's life was at risk for six weeks, but this didn't seem to be a factor to social services," Ms Wilcox, whose father is now waiting to go into a care home, said.

"The longer he remained in hospital there was a real risk of him catching Covid, and a risk of him dying."

"I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, because if I took dad home without a care package there was a real risk of him falling, and if I left him in hospital he was vulnerable and exposed to coronavirus."

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The diary of a former journalist records how Covid changed care home life

On Tuesday, Ms Morgan said the Welsh government would not find out exactly how much cash it would get from the National Insurance rise until the UK government's spending review.

As the money was not going to be "available immediately", she said ministers wanted to take time to look at different options for a long-term plan for the sector.

Of the extra money, £40m will be given to local councils - who are responsible for social care - to help deal with pressures, including staffing.

Another £8m will fund other priorities, such as extending the carers support fund and residential services for looked after children.

Organisations working in the sector welcomed the funding, but there were renewed calls for urgent reform to help deal with staffing issues and attract more people to work as carers.

Media caption,

Lakshmy Pengelly: "It felt like we we were drowning"

Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS confederation, said: "NHS leaders are doing all they can to implement short-term solutions with local authorities and providers of care, but there's an urgent need for a plan to solve long-standing issues."

The Welsh Local Government Association said the funding would help the sector recover after the pandemic.

However, councillor Huw David, spokesman for health and social care, said many providers were now at "crisis point" and it was crucial to find a long-term solution.

"Whilst there is one eye on recovery, we continue to experience increasing and significant pressures and demand on our vital health and social care services, placing many services close to crisis," he said.