Foreword: Commissioning home care for older people

Photo of Norman Lamb

I welcome the publication of this new guide. It is very timely, focusing as it does on how we can arrange better home care for the increasing number of older people with complex needs. It will sit alongside and complement the new Care Act and its associated statutory guidance, which will come into effect in April 2015. A central theme of the Act will be that the wellbeing of individuals must be placed at the centre of all local authority activity in arranging care and support.

SCIE is absolutely right to emphasise that the needs of older people, especially when those needs are complex, must be considered holistically and not as a series of separate conditions. The focus must always be on people themselves – their needs, wishes and aspirations. This guidance rightly stresses that they should have choice about and control over services that meet their needs flexibly and that they should be part of the design and development of those services.

This focus echoes our recent publication, Transforming primary care: safe, proactive, personalised care for those who need it most. The heart of this vision is that people with the most complex needs, often older people, should benefit from more proactive care. Such care must focus on identifying risk early and putting in place the holistic care needed to support the full range of their physical, mental and social needs.

I wholeheartedly support the ambition set out here: that local authorities should move towards commissioning services to meet the outcomes people want, rather than buying services on a time and task basis. We need to work collaboratively and raise our game, to improve the way that home care is arranged and delivered, so it can enhance the quality of life for all who depend on it. I thank SCIE for developing this guide, which I believe will play an important role in achieving this aim.

Norman Lamb signature

Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support


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