By Cllr David Hare
As Liberal Democrats we believe that all aspects of the council’s work are important to the people of Wokingham.
We want everyone to live as full a life as possible, regardless of disability, race, sexual orientation or creed.
‘Adult services’ is one of the highest spending Departments in the Council;
we believe it needs to be run efficiently and effectively for the benefit of all the inhabitants of Wokingham.
It is this department that has been responsible for local dealings with the Covid-19 crisis, as well as its usual job of providing services to our older people, people with a learning or physical disability, and people with mental health problems.
In the Covid crisis the department has stepped up, resulting in Wokingham Borough being the first council to stop the transfer of those without a Covid test and results from hospital to care homes.
This was after the reality of Covid transmission due to transferring untested patients was appreciated from the Liberal Democrat leader’s comments.
The council has instituted a ‘Task Force’ with NHS involvement, to support and enable care homes in this crisis.
Adult services throughout the country must learn lessons from the pandemic and plan for future problems
People needing care, whatever their situation, need the best, most appropriate care, always being mindful that situations change and the support provided needs to reflect this.
The Liberal Democrats will endeavour to ensure that the care provided promotes independence; for some that means carers visiting homes, a day placement or other intermittent support.
(The LINK Visiting Scheme is an excellent local charity that provides a befriending service for local people, giving a service to more than 220 older people in Wokingham).
For some individuals a residential or nursing home promotes an individual’s independence by giving them a safe, supportive and friendly place to live.
Providing the best care possible means Liberal Democrats want to review the way Wokingham works and not be afraid of change.
We need to look at our services for older people, ensure care is provided appropriately, that care homes are excellent providers, that day facilities stimulate individuals, being enjoyable and providing the support needed to live independently.
OPTALIS is a Council-owned provider of services, the services provided must continue to be reviewed to ensure value for money.
The COVID crisis has put a spotlight on care.
The Government support for Adult Services is woeful.
As well as local reviews of all services there needs to be a Government review of adult care and more money needs to be invested in an underfunded section of our society.
Cllr David Hare is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for adult services and wellbeing on Wokingham Borough Council
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a new series of columns. On alternate weeks, we will have
a view from a Conservative or Lib Dem councillor and there will be a monthly
column from Labour; Independents will also be invited to contribute