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We help Healthwatch England raise issue of delays for care assessments nationally

25/07/2016

Are people waiting too long to be assessed for social care support?

We helped Healthwatch England design a toolkit to support other local Healthwatch to make sure people are not waiting too long for care assessments in their area.

In 2013–14 we raised the issue of delays for people getting social care assessments with Cambridgeshire County Council. When we first challenged our local authority on waiting times for older people, some individuals were waiting up to 47 weeks.  We told Healthwatch England about this using the Healthwatch 'escalation process', as we thought it was likely to problem in other parts of the country too.  We were one of the first Healthwatch to raise an issue nationally with Healthwatch England.

Since then, we have continued to ask questions and ask for regular updates from the Council. Earlier this year, they told us that significant steps had been taken to tackle the problem, including hiring extra staff to help process assessments. The number of people waiting for assessments was much shorter and the most people were waiting for assessments was up to 11 weeks. 

We have used our experience to help other Healthwatch. A few months ago, Sandie Smith, our Chief Executive, spoke at Healthwatch England’s National Policy Forum to raise awareness of this issue across the Healthwatch network. We also helped Healthwatch England develop this toolkit, published in July 2016.


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Healthwatch England care assessment toolkit

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