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HEALTH SECRETARY: INTER-AGENCY WORKING VITAL TO PROVIDING SERVICES

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The right support at the right time can help people to maintain their ...
The right support at the right time can help people to maintain their

independence and should be a priority, health secretary Frank Dobson said.

Speaking at a national conference on 'Promoting Independence:

preventative strategies and support for adults' in London, Mr Dobson

stressed that inter-agency working was vital to providing the

services that people need.

'Co-operation across organisational boundaries is central to this

government's approach to health and social care,' he said, 'The

promotion of independent living in the community can only succeed if

the various services are in place and working as one.

'It is no longer acceptable for people in need to be inadequately

supported because there are gaps or misunderstandings between

organisations.'

By identifying the people who would benefit most from early help, and

by offering flexible and imaginative support across services, a

crisis can be averted and the need for much greater support and

dependence can be prevented, said Mr Dobson.

As announced in the White Paper Modernising Social Services, the

government is putting£100m towards putting these ideas into

practice. Guidance was issued last month on how local authorities

should make use of this new, three year, promoting independence

grant. This advises local authorities to help people maintain their

independence by:

- encouraging self-reliance and self-determination for adults in need

of help;

- promoting choice and dignity;

- reducing the risk of accidents and injuries at home;

- reducing social isolation;

- offering training in mobility or daily living skills;

- helping those of working age with social care needs to remain in

work as long as possible.

Local authorities are required to develop a strategy to prevent

dependence developing and by the end of October must provide a

written plan, agreed with the relevant health authorities and other

services. They must consult with users and carers, frontline staff

and other relevant bodies, always remembering that volunteers and the

voluntary sector have a central role to play in the success of

preventative strategies.

NOTES

The promoting independence grant, totalling£100m over

three years, was announced in the White Paper Modernising Social

Services. The distribution of the grant was set out in the

16 March Local Authority Circular (99) 13. The guidance was issued

on 5 May as LAC (99) 14.

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