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Welsh Liberal Democrats want an end to one-size-fits-all approach to social care – Kirsty Williams

March 13, 2012 2:56 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Welsh Government to go further in its Social Services Bill by increasing the use of personalised budgets for people in receipt of care.

The Welsh Government has opened consultation on its Social Services Bill and the Welsh Liberal Democrats welcome their change in approach to social care. However, the Welsh Liberal Democrats wants the bill to ensure that even more people receive care packages that allow them to remain independent and retain their dignity while receiving care.

Personal budgets give people and their carers greater choice and control over the care services they receive. Users can tailor services to meet their specific needs. Welsh Liberal Democrats want to reform the regulations to give patients greater flexibility over what they can spend their care money on.

Welsh Liberal Democrats will be making a submission to the Welsh Government's consultation making the case for increased use of personal budgets.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

"We welcome the Welsh Government's commitment to reforming social services in Wales as the current system of providing and paying for care is too inflexible for the many different needs of patients across Wales.

"For people who cannot manage their own direct payments, we want to see the Welsh Government expand the use of individual budgeting, where the local authority or care provider works to provide a more tailored service for the user.

"Social care is a vital service for many older, disabled and vulnerable people and the current system is too complicated and not suited to the needs of many people who use social care.

"Personal budgets can make an incredible difference to people's lives. They give people choice, control and independence. They allow people, rather than the government, to tailor services to suit their own personal needs.

"In the next few years, Wales will see more and more people need to use social care services. Currently too many people are using services that are not convenient for them, which can leave them alone of unable to make the best of life.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats are arguing for a greater measure of choice and flexibility within the provision that is made available in social care, so that the resources available can be utilised in a more personalised way to suit people's personal needs. This would therefore be giving people increased freedom in how they use the money that is there to support them. This liberal approach introduces increased choice to help people to improve the quality of their lives.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats have campaigned hard for greater choice in our social care services, which has been something the Welsh Labour Government has always been very hostile to. While I very much welcome the Government's change of direction regarding social care, I hope that they will use this opportunity to radically reform social care to suit the people who

rely on it."