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Care convention to help shape future of the sector in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 08:38 18 September 2017 | UPDATED: 08:39 18 September 2017

Willie Cruickshank. Picture: Ian Burt

Willie Cruickshank. Picture: Ian Burt

Whether looking at our own futures, or those of loved ones, adult social care is a sector which will come into everyone’s life at some point.

Executive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council James Bullion. Picture Norfolk County CouncilExecutive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council James Bullion. Picture Norfolk County Council

But it is rarely an easy topic of conversation, meaning many people have little to no understanding of what the care sector looks like in 2017.

This means those looking for care do not know what good care looks like, how much it should cost and - importantly - who pays for it.

Now, a county care convention wants to change that and look to create a new consumer-led model of care.

The care industry in Norfolk sees around £877m go into the market every year - and 80pc of this investment is public funding.

But funding for local services has reduced significantly in recent years, and is expected to continue to do so.

And assessments carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) show the quality of care in the residential care market in Norfolk is below the average for England as a whole.

By bringing everyone involved in the sector together for the Norfolk Care Convention, on November 15, it is hoped a step change and new direction for the sector can be found.

Willie Cruickshank, who is behind the convention, said: “Care, and all its implications is, and always has been, a vital element in society. Today, as we not only witness the changes happening around us, but also glimpse the future, it’s become obvious. In the future the relationship between care providers and council supported care consumers will be radically different. It will be a future based on choice.

“We all want to see a big shift in the relationship between the council and the care market, with much greater emphasis on shaping and designing future care choices which will be designed around what customers want.

“The Norfolk Care Convention 2017 will be the first step towards the future. Building on the legacy of previous Norfolk Care Conferences, it is your opportunity to explore the choices available to you, and for you to contribute your knowledge and opinions, to help shape the future. A future where people are better supported to be independent, resilient and well.”

James Bullion, executive director of adult social services for Norfolk County Council, added: “At some point in our lives we, or one of our relatives, will need some kind of care.

“In Norfolk, our over 65 population is growing at a faster rate than elsewhere in the country and there are thousands of adults living with a disability.

“It is brilliant news that people are living longer but we want those people to live rich and fulfilling lives in their later years.

“That is why this year’s Care Convention focuses on developing the kind of care market that people in Norfolk want.

“As a council, we know people many people want to be able to live independently and to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.

“We are investing in services to support this and want to help develop a market that can meet the wide range of needs of the people of Norfolk.”

• The Care Convention is free to attend and tickets can be obtained at www.carenorfolk.com

Care statistics

• Norfolk’s over 65 population is due to rise from 209,700 to 275,000 (28.3pc of the population) over the next 14 years – a faster rate of increase than the rest of England.

• The number of over 85s will rise by 77pc – and they are more likely to be physically frail and to develop dementia.

• There are currently 12,300 adults aged 18-64 with a serious physical disability and 2,800 with a moderate or severe learning disability - improved medical support and care means they are likely to live longer, increasing demand for services.

• The council invests £260m per year in care providers, to support more than 15,000 adults – and inflation, pay costs and rising prices will put more pressure on the £369m adult social care budget, with £32m of savings proposed by 2019. Adult social care is the council’s biggest spending area.

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