What do service users and carers think about current service delivery?
The Adult Social Care Survey 2015/16 - a national survey that compares adult social care service user satisfaction shows that:
- Overall satisfaction of people who use services with their care and support - Torbay scored 67.9% of people satisfied - above the England (66.3%) and Unitary Authority average (64.4%); and
- Control over their daily life - Torbay scored slightly above 79.2% the England (73.9%) and Unitary authority average (76.7%) average for respondents over the age of 65. Likewise for 18 to 65 year olds Torbay scored higher, 82.7% as opposed to the England average of 85.6% and the Unitary authority average of 82.7%.
We work with service users, carers and providers to develop our commissioning strategies and this is a vital part of planning for the future. We also require care providers to engage with their service users and their carers, to ensure they are meeting the expectations of their clients and also to understand the needs of future and potential customers.
The increased use of personal budgets and direct payments over the coming years, will lead to more people making their own arrangements for care and support. It is important that commissioners and service providers understand what people are looking for, offering choice and new ways of meeting client’s needs.
Recent feedback (Healthwatch Report The People's Voice) in late 2015/6 gives a clear picture of community views on local health and social care as a result of the consultation by the NHS about changes to community services. Healthwatch Torbay is an independent consumer champion for health and social care in Torbay and South Devon. They have statutory powers to ensure the voice of the consumer is strengthened and heard by those who commission, deliver and regulate health and care services. Healthwatch voices people’s concerns and provides feedback to service providers and commissioners. Through local engagement they collect vital data on how and why people use services in their area. Its place on the Health and Wellbeing Board means Torbay Healthwatch can represent the voice of people in decision making. Torbay Healthwatch directly supports people in their community by giving them information or signposting them to the local services they need. You can leave your views about a service on their website and they also produce a useful guide on local health and carer services.
Effective service user engagement needs to take account of the views of carers. A carer is someone who helps another person, usually a relative or friend, in their day-to-day life. This is not the same as someone who provides care professionally or through a voluntary organisation. There are more than 32,000 people across Torbay and South Devon who support a friend or relative. They may be helping with shopping or meals, attending appointments with them, or just making sure that they are alright. They may be an older couple who do things for each other, a parent carer or young carer. They may not see themselves as a ‘carer’ or know about the support available to them.
Commissioners and service providers recognise that carers are important and that there is value in actively supporting and working in partnership with them, to get the best outcomes for both them and the person for whom they care.
Feedback from carers about moving care closer to home
Carers are understandably anxious about future changes, especially given the limitations of existing support services. Carers have identified a number of their priorities e.g. contracts for short stays (often known as ‘respite care’) and enhanced carer support. Some of the potential solutions that have been suggested by them, such as more promotion of Direct Payments or IT solutions are already committed to. They also require innovative solutions to the needs of the carer and the person for whom they care, such as flexible day or night care or ‘on demand’ contracts.
Service user and carer engagement groups
We work with a number of groups and partnerships who hold regular meetings involving a range of people such as service users, their carers, commissioners and providers. In many cases these involve independent ‘umbrella groups’ and voluntary sector organisations, which can offer providers opportunities to engage with service users. Some of these groups include:
- Torbay Learning Disability & Autism Partnership Board;
- Torbay Carers Service;
- Carers Aid Torbay;
- Torbay Older Citizens Forum;
- Community Partnerships;
- Community Health and Well-being Forums;
- Experts by Experience; and
- Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
These forums, groups and services provide opportunities for service users and carers to share their experiences of using services and to work with commissioners and providers in driving up quality or developing new provision.
It is important that providers treat service users and carers as equal partners - who are experts in their own care and needs. Support from independent organisations can be critical, particularly when things aren’t going well with a provider. An independent voice can help with managing risk and conflict between providers, service users and carers - helping those involved in raising awareness of issues. They can also assist with improving communications and understanding the ‘whole picture’ of user and carer needs, where the family can be a part of the wider ‘carer team.’
Other indications of the quality of services locally and how they compare with the national picture
Many of Torbay’s adult social care services are inspected and rated by CQC. In December 2016 the picture of quality of adult social care providers by CQC ratings was as follows:
CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting) nearest neighbours for English local authorities are grouped and based upon a wide range of socio-economic indicators. The ‘comparator group’ in the chart above is the combination of the figure for Torbay and the 15 comparable local authorities.
Benchmarking shows that Torbay is performing in line with comparator local authorities other than having a smaller number of ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’ services.
The adult social care outcomes framework which is a national comparison of adult social care services shows we perform well.
If you want to complain about your services please talk to the provider or visit the following websites: