I recently enjoyed visiting a Shared Lives South West family in Portreath, to find out more about the work done by Shared Lives and the services offered. Shared Lives South West is an independent charity and provides a range of services for people with additional needs. It is a way of providing care and support for vulnerable adults in ordinary family homes of Shared Lives carers.
It was great to meet people who use the Shared Lives services as well the Just Next Door service, which is a half-way stage between living with a family and living independently. The service is provided by Shared Lives carers who have an annexe or flat that is linked to the family home. It allows people to increase independent living skills whilst being able to access family based support when needed. It is also a more cost effective model than some other approaches to social care.
How we support people in need of adult social care is a growing dilemma, and creative thinking is needed. As more people live longer, more need help as they get older. Finding the right solutions is also key to easing pressure on the NHS.
This week, the Chancellor delivered the Spring Budget. I am particularly pleased that the Government will provide an additional £2 billion to councils in England over the next three years to spend on adult social care services. £1 billion of this will be provided in 2017-18, ensuring that councils can take immediate action to fund care packages for more people, support social care providers, and relieve pressure on the NHS.
I also welcome the provision of an additional £100 million for capital investment in A&E departments, which will help to ensure that patients are able to access the most appropriate care as quickly as possible.
The NHS is incredibly important to everyone in Cornwall. I admire the work done by our local hospitals. I am a firm believer in helping the NHS deal with the challenges it inevitably faces, rather than talking it down.