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24 June 2022 at 9:29 am #16388GwenModerator
Please find below the Meeting notes for our online event that happened on June 16th, a massive thank you to NEWCIS for sharing the learning!
All Wales Forum & Caring Communities of Change Project
Newcis: Bridging the Gap project, please visit their website here.
- The Respite scheme ‘Bridging The Gap’ provides choice and flexibility to unpaid carers.
- Delivered across Flintshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire
- NEWCIS undertakes carers assessments in the form of a “what matters” conversation
- There are 50 providers signed up for the scheme to offer different forms of support. These are presented to carers in a brochure so they can choose what care they would like to receive.
- A carer receives a code which is worth up to the value of £300 to use over 6 months. Carers can look through the brochure and book as and when they need support. When consultation for this scheme was taking place, families said they struggled with traditional forms of respite care for things such as needing to go for a haircut or attend a family wedding. This scheme allows carers to have the choice.
- The support providers offer and the cost differs
- The BTG scheme can be used in emergencies. It will fall onto NEWCIS to get as much information at the time to choose which provider will give the necessary support. NEWCIS work with health and statutory bodies if needed to help organise a crisis.
- Even though Wales is facing a huge crisis in the paid care sector, there are so many providers involved that this hasn’t had an impact on the running of the scheme.
- Families don’t often use the full amount of £300 within the 6-month period. At the end of the code, the balance is put back into the budget and is allocated to another carer.
- To ensure smooth partnership working between 3 local authorities and providers, they do not keep providers waiting for payment. Allows smaller providers to get involved.
How does NEWCIS manage all the referrals into the scheme along with all the carers assessments?
- They have over 50 staff with some based in hospitals and GP surgeries.
- A what matters conversation is a starting block. They were always carrying these out, but this scheme has allowed them to formalize it
- During lockdown, assessments had to be done online and over the phone. This allowed them to carry out far more than before the pandemic. They now offer these as options as well as face to face.
Have there been any particular challenges with the cross-sector working and how have you got around them?
- At the beginning in 2012, there were lots of challenges including certain providers having to get their head around this new way of working
- There were concerns that the amount of money wasn’t enough and wouldn’t give carers a weekly service
- BTG is not supposed to be a replacement for a traditional care package. For those with high care needs in their caring role, they help refer them to social services to get a statutory package
- BTG is for a carer to do what they want to do, and this took a while for people to get used to
- Because NEWCIS carry out the “what matters” conversations, they are able to see where the scheme will be enough or able to have conversations to explore other options such as direct payments or care packages if there is a gap
Has there been an impact on the scheme due to rising cost in fuel prices?
- There has been an impact on the number of care workers
- They have gone to local authorities to look at re-adjusting and increasing the £300 code in line with rising costs
- Carers have used their code for family and friends. This has allowed people to see what role that person does day to day and actually relieve some of the caring by taking it on themselves.
After 6 months and the code is finished, what happens?
- With the carers assessment, there is an annual review taken after 12 months.
- Staff can go back to people and see how they are managing and if they need another code
We hear families talk a lot about equity of access and a post code lottery. Are there plans to role this scheme out across the rest of North Wales as a region?
- They have created a toolkit to share with Welsh Government as an example of good practice
- They are always being contacted about the scheme but don’t know if anybody has picked it up and doing something like it
Within the carers assessments, are they financially assessed?
- No, but they talk about finances and refer people to citizens advice to ensure they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to.
- 50% of current calls coming into NEWCIS are from carers who are struggling at the moment or are worried about the winter months ahead
Are there certain limits/rules with the £300 code?
- There are constant conversations happening with local authorities and monitoring different situations as to whether somebody will use their money up within the first 3 months and then left without support.
- Conversations are starting to happen around people combining their codes for more opportunities
Well-being scheme in Gwynedd. How can this scheme be improved?
- There is currently a struggle getting paid carers
- Community catalysts popping up. This brings care closer to local places and people cutting down travel time and costs
How does NEWCIS keep all partners happy?
- Team effort
- Agreement with providers- ensure they are paid on time and not keep people waiting
- Constant monitoring and conversations
- Learnt over the years how to make it work
Can any unpaid carer access the scheme even if they work?
- Even if a carer works full-time, they can get a code
- There are posts in place within NEWCIS that help speak to employers and make them more carer friendly and how to support carers in the workplace
- Working across sectors provides more opportunities for family carers to have a break
- Communication, feedback and continual learning have been important in keeping partners happy
- Good ‘what matters conversations’ are very important to identifying good breaks for carers
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