Implementing a National Care Service

1. Questions to the First Minister – in the Senedd at on 14 May 2024.

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Photo of Joyce Watson Joyce Watson Labour


7. Will the First Minister provide an update on the Welsh Government’s plans to implement a national care service? OQ61089

Photo of Vaughan Gething Vaughan Gething Labour 2:25, 14 May 2024

Thank you for the question. A number of key activity areas within stage 1 of our initial implementation plan have already progressed at pace through our 'Rebalancing Care and Support' programme. That includes establishing a national office for care and support. Research activities and, indeed, the question of the future funding of social care are planned to commence. And, of course, we may have more funding available to us in the nearer term depending on the budgets available to this institution. 

Photo of Joyce Watson Joyce Watson Labour

And you're absolutely right to say that the important first step to that national care service for Wales was the launch of the new national office for care and support. That important service will play an important role in supporting the chief social care officer to deliver on the national care service for Wales. And from what I understand, it will also play a key role in implementing the national commissioning framework for care and support in Wales. First Minister, do you agree that we maintain the action that is under way to direct resources where they're needed the most in order to provide outcomes and meet the needs of our older population?

Photo of Vaughan Gething Vaughan Gething Labour 2:26, 14 May 2024

Thank you for the question. I want to start by recognising and paying tribute to the work that Julie Morgan did when she was a member of the Government on taking forward this reform and improvement area. Dawn Bowden will now lead on the work that still needs to be done to deliver a national care service, and I believe it will make a big difference for older adults, but also, alongside the reforms that will be commencing, more of that will take place next week for children and young people that will also access the social care system. We know that the system we have at the moment needs significant improvement and transformation.

I believe a national care service with national standards, clarity on what the requirements are to look after our staff, clarity on the service that people could and should expect will make a significant difference in both making better use of money but also a better experience and better outcomes for people regardless of what stage of their life they're at. I would like to see that significant transformation, the change in the resources required, continue to take place. We're getting ready to do so.

I believe that's another good reason to want to have a change in Government at a UK level. We'd be much better off in being able to undertake this reform if we could take account of the interaction with the tax and benefit system that affects people of all ages. Having a UK Government prepared to come along with us on this transformation and reform journey would, I believe, have a longer lasting approach to this so that we could actually take steps and much more rapidly too.