I was so pleased to read of the £6 million allocation to Care & Repair in Wales. This is fantastic recognition of the value of investing in local Care & Repair services to help older people in Wales live independently and well in their own homes at a time of funding constraints.
The fact that £2m of this funding is for the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme (RRAP), which provides minor adaptations that help prevent hospital admissions and / or speed up hospital discharge to home, shows how the Welsh Government is not only taking the links between health and housing seriously, but it is spending on prevention.
Care & Repair Cymru estimates that for every pound invested in the RRAP programme there is a £7.50 saving to health and social services.
This is not far off the recently published new evidence from Public Health England which shows the social and cost benefits of falls prevention. Home modifications came top of the list, cutting hospital admissions by 23%, with a Social Return on Investment of £7.23 for every £1 spent and a Financial Return on Investment of £3.17 for every £1 spent.
What gave me pause for thought with regard to Care & Repair in Wales, is the 100% coverage of the country, and the continuation of Care and Repair services that are independently run. Similarly in Scotland, out of 33 Care and Repair services, 5 are independent not-for-profit bodies, 20 are managed by RSLs, 3 by other organisations and their new Good Practice Guide cites the official position of the Scottish Government which is that ‘…where practicable, all Care and Repair services (should) become self-governing, operating as either a standalone project or as a subsidiary of an RSL’.
In England voluntary organisations, particularly the older people’s sector, are under enormous strain, with an alarming rate of service closures and at best service contractions. The small remaining cluster of independent HIAs remain sector pioneers, at the forefront of innovation and cross sector working. Despite the current hostile climate, we can but hope that they remain that they are able to continue and thrive, and that their enormous value gets the recognition that it deserves.